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Hillsdale College’s net val­u­ation is approaching $1 billion. Wiki­media Commons

Hillsdale College is approaching $1 billion in net worth. The college has more than $1 billion in assets and $100 million in lia­bil­ities, according to Patrick Flannery, vice pres­ident of finance and the trea­surer of Hillsdale College.

“We have a lot of assets com­pared to lia­bil­ities. It con­tinues to prove that we’re very strong finan­cially,” Flannery said.

Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn said Hillsdale’s growing net worth is a good thing for the college: “It’s a sign of strength, which the college needs because the times are tur­bulent, and we need a cushion,” he said, noting that Hillsdale’s endowment of roughly $548 million is much smaller than endow­ments of Hillsdale’s com­petitors. Arnn said some com­petitors have endow­ments worth more than $1 billion.

Arnn does not antic­ipate sur­passing $1 billion in net worth by a certain date.

“It depends on a lot of things: people giving money, invest­ments doing well. The future is obscure,” he said.

Expansion of the college’s size does not nec­es­sarily increase the net value of the college. Con­struction of the new dorm and ren­o­vation of Gal­loway men’s res­i­dence shifts funds from cash into real estate. An edu­ca­tional center the college is con­sid­ering estab­lishing in Cal­i­fornia could only be built if the college fundraises specif­i­cally for it. Such money, as with Christ Chapel, must be given expressly for the center’s con­struction; the college could not use other funds for its con­struction or main­te­nance.

The real question is what Hillsdale plans to do with money it fundraises in the future.

One straight­forward way to use addi­tional money is to expand the size of the college campus and student pop­u­lation, which is barely more than 1,450 stu­dents. Hillsdale has already seen growth, par­tic­u­larly since Arnn began his pres­i­dency in 2000.

But Arnn said the admin­is­tration is pri­or­i­tizing improving Hillsdale more than expanding it.

“We’ve come to the point where we’re turning away more stu­dents than we accept. And it’s true that our faculty posi­tions, based on the huge stan­dards we have here, those appli­ca­tions have improved,” he said.

Hillsdale awards a large amount of money to stu­dents in the form of low tuition and schol­ar­ships. The admin­is­tration is looking to fundraise another $150 – 200 million to fully endow its schol­arship endowment.

Hillsdale’s Barney Charter Schools are cur­rently about 40 percent endowed. With a larger endowment, the program would be able to increase from 21 employees to its goal of 50 employees across the country.

Flannery jok­ingly described the most imme­diate impact of the college’s finances: “We’re probably going to be open next fall.”

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    It’d be great to see the college’s Endowment Fund fully funded to cover schol­ar­ships. It’s doable in the next few years with the eco­nomic growth we’re expe­ri­encing. Cer­tainly the exposure Hillsdale College gets from things like the VP Pence address isn’t hurting them in their fund-raising cam­paign. You need to strike while the iron is hot!

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Out of curiosity Mr. Macwan, who do the Hillsdale College lead­ership con­sider their ‘com­petitors have endow­ments worth more than $1 billion’? Hillsdale fills a unique role in it’s Liberal Arts mission, who does Pres­ident Arnn con­sider the chief com­petitors who are sig­nif­i­cantly better funded?

    • Ellsworth_Toohey

      That’s a good question. 15 years ago I would have instinc­tively said Chicago school of eco­nomics, today I’m not so sure. I’m not saying that part of the College has gone away, but the coziness with big gov­erment Repub­licans clearly has sent mixed mes­sages. I suspect it’s less “com­petitors” and more com­peting ide­ologies, whatever that might be.

      BTW, as an obser­vation, have you ever seen a Col­legian reporter answer a question on here? I haven’t, which I kinda find odd.

      • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

        Great question and no I haven’t. Nothing wrong with prac­ticing jour­nal­istic dis­tance from com­ments, but a direct, focused comment on the article like mine cer­tainly merits a response. I hope Mr. Macwan isn’t intim­i­dated by my rough edges, I thought this was an excellent article.