I wanted to acknowledge the good news recently received about Standard & Poor’s upgrading the College of DuPage bond rating from “AA” to “AA+” and affirmed its rating outlook of “stable” on the College’s outstanding general obligation bonds. It is a notable achievement in an era, particularly in Illinois, where few institutions of higher learning can only dream of having even one A letter beside their name.
While an argument might be sustained that the visitation of probation that prompted the down-grading really had nothing to do with the actual financial health of COD, it is gratifying nonetheless to see its return up the ladder. Though I am moved to point out that what provoked the ire of the HLC in those days did not include non-compliant syllabi. On the latter, I think you will hear at some point this evening some encouraging news re the audit.
But I will stick to a financial theme as I note item 8 in tonight’s agenda, APPROVAL: Tuition and Fees Effective Fall 2018 Term.
As the information supplied in the packet demonstrates, COD has had an exemplary record in its tuition rate since 2015 (how many colleges can boast of a negative increase in these challenging times?). During this era, COD moved from the top of the table to below midpoint. However, at some point, as the cost curve inches inexorably up, increasing revenue becomes inevitable. The modest $1 seems entirely reasonable.
What makes this proposed increase more palatable is the evolution of the board’s attitude towards the reserve fund. No longer is it referred to as the “rainy day” fund for rains that will never come (at least in recent memory), and no longer is it treated as something sacrosanct. We note a logical rationalization of the allocations and a willingness to put part of it to productive use.
I would only advocate that, as the plan to generate revenues evolves, the burden fall not only on the fee payers but equally on the community that benefits from our services and even beyond in any creative ways possible.