Last night, SGA met in Barnard Hall’s James Room to discuss the crux of polite society: money. Having a rather tabula rasa mind on the subject, Maddie Ball was there to get the facts.
SGA knows that paying tuition can feel a bit like throwing money into a black hole. So, to allay your fears (or perhaps add to them), the rep council invited Chief Operating Officer Greg Brown to shed a bit of light into the depths of that black hole. After all, who doesn’t want to know what Barnard does with all your hard earned cash? To start, Brown laid down some cold hard facts: about 30% of your dough goes to your professors and about 20% goes to your peers as financial aid. The rest is spent in a medley of ways, some going to students services, health services, and food services, to name a few.
While you might not believe it, in just 2003 the average cost of attending Barnard was only $37,103 (it was a simpler time, apparently). By comparison, now it costs a whopping $57,312. Brown says, however, that for the future Barnard needs to start “working with what [they] have.” In other words, Barnard is committed to keeping tuition increases to a minimum, and further, that Barnard is already at maximum student enrollment.
Consequently, Brown notes, if Barnard wants the fancy new building it has planned for June 2015, or any other extraneous expenditures, it will have to fundraise a veritable storm. More so, Barnard will have to overcome its running deficit, in 2012 receiving $157.3 million in revenue, but spending by comparison $161.8 million. When it comes to Barnard’s finances, it’s all about cutting costs without sacrificing the mission, as Brown puts it.
One of the biggest issues of the evening was the discussion of Barnard’s endowment. Namely, many called for Barnard’s investments to match Barnard’s values. Luckily, Barnard definitely seems to be moving in the right direction. Brown noted that defense oriented companies comprise less than 1% of the total portfolio (with no gun manufacturers) and fossil fuels comprise less than 4%. Further, Brown added his own strong interest in dwindling the already small percentage of coal investments.
While Greg Brown certainly had a lot to say on Barnard’s finances, SGA’s Financial Advisory Council (FAC) also had a lot to say about their new program called the Financial Information Exchange Initiative, or FIX for short. The program, newly launched, hopes to provide specific financial information relevant to student initiatives. To best illustrate FIX’s usefulness, SGA described a scenario in which a student is campaigning to put hand dryers in Barnard’s bathrooms. The student could then apply to FIX to find out how much money Barnard spends on paper towels and use that data as figurative debate ammo whilst plying their case. Additionally, the FIX could also write a letter of recommendation to a student’s cause, potentially giving it more traction. To learn more about FIX, as well as how to apply, visit SGA’s website or contact a rep!
Cash money via Shutterstock