Trust and Finances at Colleges

An interesting article on the increasing tendency of college communities to question claims of financial problems. To be sure, the article highlights issues that are more common at larger institutions with endowments, dedicated funds and such. Not nearly as much an issue at schools like mine with no endowment or large capital reserves. But the article does note a breakdown in trust:

Forget “Trust, but verify.” A more apt phrase to describe the mood at some colleges today would be “Don’t trust, and challenge.”

Saying they’re unconvinced by bleak financial reports produced by university business chiefs, increasingly skeptical students and faculty are outsourcing number crunching to independent auditors, often with the hope of exposing hidden pots of money in cavernous college coffers.

That breakdown in trust, from all indications I’ve seen in conversations with faculty of several institutions, may be part of a broader trend that is not entirely driven by financial matters. A real challenge for administrators, it seems to me.

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