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Affordability and Financial Strength
Fiscal Year 2010 Performance Report - December 18, 2009 Update

We invite you to take advantage of our interactive dashboard presentation. The table below provides an overview of the performance indicators associated with the category of Affordability and Financial Strength, including an indication of whether for each indicator we are progressing in the desired direction. We have also included a pie chart to provide a visual demonstration of our progress in achieving our desired progress.

pie chart Affordability & Financial Strength Progress


Interactive Dashboard

By clicking on the links within the table, you can visit a more detailed view of our performance within each indicator in either tabular format where you can choose on which attribute you wish to sort, or as a graphical representation of the data which may make trends or comparisons more readily apparent.

You can also choose to immediately see the entire discussion of our progress in meeting our Affordability and Financial Strength indicators by selecting a full sortable table style view or a full graphical style view. In addition, from within either the table or graphical view, there are links provided to easily switch back and forth between the two viewing formats.

Affordability and Financial Strength - Overview

In the area of affordability and financial strength, eight performance indicators advanced in the desired direction. There was a decrease in the percent of graduates with loans, institutional all-cost increases (tuition, fees, room and board) were below the Higher Education Price Index, the instructional and administrative costs per credit hour were below the statewide average, and all four of the University’s financial strength ratios (primary reserve, net operating, return on net assets, and viability) increased. The only performance indicator to change in the opposite direction was the average debt load for students graduating from the University.

Affordability and Financial Strength Performance Indicators
(click on column title to sort)

Performance Indicator Progressing in the
Desired Direction
No Change
Moving in the
Opposite Direction
Institutional All-Costs Increase (chart / table)
Percent of students with loans ( chart / table) X    
Average debt load of graduates with loans ( chart / table)     X
Financial strength ratio - Primary Reserves ( chart / table) X    
Financial strength ratio - Net Operating Revenue ( chart / table) X    
Financial strength ratio - Return on Net Assets ( chart / table) X    
Financial strength ratio - Viability ( chart / table) X    
Instructional Costs per Credit Hour ( chart / table) X    
Administrative Costs per Credit Hour ( chart / table) X    


Affordability and Financial Strength - Summary

Western Illinois University has a strong history and commitment to maintaining cost predictability and affordability. From the time of application at the senior year of high school until college graduation, the student could have experienced four tuition and fee increases. However, Western’s Cost Guarantee assumes no cost increases for four years once the student is enrolled. When dividing the Cost Guarantee over the students four years, Western has kept the all costs increases below the average increase in the Higher Education Price Index.

With limited cost increases, the percent of students graduating from Macomb with loans decreased during 2009, and the average debt load of these graduates increased by only $295 or 1.7 percent.

The Macomb Campus is ranked ninth lowest (of 13) in the percent of graduating students with loans. The average debt load of these graduates is the ninth lowest. Compared to peer institutions, the Quad Cities Campus has the lowest percent of graduating students with loans. Furthermore, the average debt load of these students is the lowest for the five institutions reporting data.

In maintaining commitments to affordability, it is important to note a fundamental change in the state financing of Illinois public higher education. Annual state operating appropriations are below Western’s all costs increases and the Higher Education Price Index. This, coupled with unfunded state mandates, has made the University increasing reliant on University Income Fund. State appropriations now account for less than one-half of the University’s annual general revenue appropriation.

With conservative fiscal management, Western Illinois University contains costs and provides the resource base to support simultaneous advancement of the academic mission and service operations of the University. Through conservative fiscal management, the University has improved it financial strength.

The University’s primary reserve ratio demonstrates financial strength. A negative or decreasing trend over time would have indicated a weakening financial condition. The net operating revenue shows that Western has operated with a surplus in five of the last six years, therefore enabling the University to carry forward funds in conjunction with limitations established in Illinois statutes for public institutions. The viability ratio has also significantly improved since 2003, giving the University additional expendable net assets to satisfy debt obligations. While the return on net assets ratio is quite volatile and sensitive to inflationary and other economic conditions, including the recent recession, Western Illinois University maintains a constant return on net assets ratio.

Western is committed to efficiently allocating resources. Between Fiscal Years 2004 and 2008, the University remained below the statewide average on the instructional costs per credit hour. Western also maintains administrative costs per credit hour that are below the statewide average. The five-year increase in the administrative and support cost per credit hour at Western was $13.15, which is below the statewide average increase of $16.22.

Limited staff growth helps to control administrative costs. The percent increase in the total number of staff at Western was below the average of all other Illinois public universities. Staff headcounts are reported in the table below as there is not published data for non-faculty staff years.


Details of Affordability and Financial Strength