SRU earns “Green light” on State System’s financial assessment ratings


West Gym

Slippery Rock University earned high ratings on Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Financial Assessment. SRU has improved its financial rating for three straight years.

April 6, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Green is one of Slippery Rock University's school colors, but it's also the color used to indicate SRU's positive financial health on Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's Financial Assessment. SRU is one of three institutions in the 14-university State System deemed to have a financial performance that "... requires little or no monitoring," according to the assessment.

SRU, which ranked second to West Chester, is the only institution to improve its rating for three straight years. The ratings, independently compiled and assessed by the State System each of the last four years to determine a school's financial risk, are a comprehensive measure of metrics based on market demand, operating efficiency and financial performance.

Molly Mercer Headshot


"We're pleased with the continued progress that we've demonstrated for this financial assessment," said Molly Mercer, SRU associate vice president for finance. "This comprehensive assessment looks at many of the factors that contribute to our financial success. A positive assessment allows us to be in a strong position to provide the education and other services that our students need and to continue to invest in the campus."

Jim Dillion, State System vice chancellor for administration and finance, presented the financial assessment to SRU's council of trustees March 23, following its rollout to the System's board of governors in January.

"It's important that our trustees hear directly from those who are evaluating SRU and all the universities in the State System," Mercer said. "The assessment is more than just a pat on the back, it gives us more standing within the State System to have financial flexibility because we've been measured and assessed as having low financial risk."

Although not a requirement, low financial risk demonstrates to state decision makers that an institution has the stability to support new academic programs. SRU has added 17 academic programs in the last four years, including 13 programs that enrolled a combined 500 students in the fall 2017 semester.

According to Mercer, one of the most important metrics compiled for the assessment is operating margin, which measures how well institutions are funding the cost of operations above a deficit. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, SRU's operating margin was 3.4 percent, compared to the State System average of 0.6 percent. The national median was 3.2 percent.

"Having this operating margin means we can fund our daily operations and allow for continued investment in the institution, whether that's funding new programs or funding the stewardship of our campus through facilities upgrades, personnel and other resources," Mercer said.

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