University cut costs by $10 million in FY 2013, credit report notes


Webster University saved approximately $10 million from expense adjustments in the 2013 fiscal year, according to a May report from the credit-rating agency Fitch Ratings. The study was conducted to assess the likelihood of Webster paying its debts, the report affirmed an ‘A’ rating, or strong capacity for the university to meet its financial commitments.  Webster’s 2013 fiscal year ran from May 31, 2012 to May 31, 2013.

The $10 million in cost-cuts partially resulted from a five percent reduction in all discretionary general operating expenses according to the report. The adjustments will be in effect for FY 2014 and remain in place until enrollment goals are achieved.

The report also projected the university’s FY 2013 budget shortfall would increase to $13.1 million. Prior reports estimated the budget shortfall at $12.2 million. Fitch attributed the shortfall to a decline in enrollment for graduate and nontraditional students. Graduate enrollment at the main campus, satellite campuses and military sites, as well as total online enrollment, has represented approximately 55.1 percent of the university’s revenue in past years. The report said the university expects an $11 million operating surplus in FY 2014.

“The nontraditional student cohort has historically experienced more enrollment volatility than its traditional counterpart, though nontraditional demand and enrollment at Webster has been consistent over time,” the report states.

Reporting by Dan Bauman

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