Saturday, January 25, 2014
Inside Higher Ed: Keeping the Faith:
Moody’s Investors Service has said bonds issued for Yeshiva – a highly respected Jewish university in Manhattan – are junk.
But administrators say they are working diligently to make the university sustainable, and some faculty, driven by the notion that the university is unique and has assets and a future beyond the eye-popping short-term math, believe the institution is or can eventually be solid.
Faculty have dealt with a half-decade of frozen pay – though they received a slight increase this year – and a decrease in the university’s contributions to their pension funds. Faculty searches are in jeopardy. President Richard Joel is reportedly ready to sell buildings and cut programs. ...
Yeshiva’s model may be preferable for some Jewish families, particularly parents of high-achieving female students, said Ruth A. Bevan, the director of Yeshiva’s international affairs program. The party schools of the day are just not a good fit for the children of modern Orthodox parents. “I don’t think there is any Orthodox parent that wants put to his or her child into that kind of situation, so YU remains a haven, it’s a safe environment for students to be in,” Bevan said. “We don’t have drugs, we don’t have alcohol, we don’t have staying out all night – that just doesn’t happen at the university.” ...
Moody's sees an institution without much liquidity, that relies on credit to support operations and with "severe cash flow deficits leading to financial resource erosion." A draft of Yeshiva's 2013 financial statements show the university spent $716 million last year -- a whopping $146 million more than it brought in, and a shortfall the size of some smaller institutions' entire budgets.
University officials told Moody’s they expect an “equally poor performance” this year and at least three more years of shortfalls, which come on top of several years of previous shortfalls that average about 16 percent of the institution's operating budget. Moody’s said the shortfalls were driven by operations at Yeshiva’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine campus.
Yeshiva University's 2012 tax return lists President Joel's compensation as $1,242,424, and eleven other salaries in excess of $600,000.