North Dakota University System has been cited as a superior example of clear financial reporting and monitoring by a national organization focused on governance in higher education.
In its recent recommendations report titled “Monitoring and Assessing the Financial Health and Risk of Colleges and Universities,” the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has named NDUS and the Ohio Department of Higher Education as its two examples of best practices to follow for how state systems should monitor the financial health and risk of institutions of higher education.
The recommendations issued by SHEEO are made after review of an educational system’s finances using five metrics to determine a score, as detailed by the Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education. These metrics help SHEEO determine an institution’s financial health, and whether or not it may be facing financial risk. Those measures include primary reserve ratio, net operating revenues ratio, return on net assets ratio, viability ratio and liquidity ratio.
In its most recent recommendations document, SHEEO used NDUS’s latest annual financial review report as a prime example of positive financial reporting. NDUS staff had spent considerable time developing and updating the contents and format of the report in recent years, ensuring that it was both user friendly and understandable. Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs/Chief Financial Officer Tammy Dolan said it was an honor for NDUS to be included.
“Inclusion as an example in this national-level report on higher education finances shows that we’ve not only met standards, we’ve exceeded them,” Dolan said. “This transparency in financial reporting couldn’t have happened without tremendous due diligence from the State Board of Higher Education, our system office staff and the campuses.”
The SHEEO recommendations cited the NDUS financial report for its clarity, and going above and beyond reporting requirements.
According to SHEEO, “Five years’ worth of data are presented to identify trends, and they are presented in easy to understand charts and tables. Likewise, for each ratio and metric, a benchmark has been established and explanations are provided.”