President White proposes $10 million plan for 2020-21 budget gap


The board of trustees’ executive committee supports President Lori White’s proposal to balance the estimated remaining 2020-2021 budget gap. President White proposed to close the gap with special fundraising and/or an additional endowment draw of up to $10 million. The full board will vote on the proposal in October. 

“The executive committee's authorization for the additional endowment draw is an extraordinary one, based on its members' recognition of the budget challenges brought about by COVID-19 and their commitment to supporting my leadership as DePauw's new president.” President White said in an email to Mary Dieter, the university’s director of media relations.

Recent Fundraising and Spending

The university's most recent and largest fundraising efforts, Campaign for DePauw, ended last October raising $383,099,799. A significant portion of this campaign went to the endowment. The university’s endowment for the 2019 fiscal year was over $730 million, according to a report released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA.

The 2019-20 fiscal year ended on June 30, with an estimated $2.6 million deficit. The final audit for the 2019-2020 year is expected to be released before the board meeting in October.

Refunding room and board was the most significant contributor to the deficit with a loss of $2.8 million, according to Zach Whitesell, University Controller.

The endowment’s goal is to generate enough money that the university can draw on it “at a prudent rate,” and that it grows with inflation, according to Whitesell. 

“If the draws are too expensive over time, that could potentially affect that, equity between generations,” Whitesell said.

Meaning students in the future would not benefit equally as students today.

The extra draw would be in addition to the $3.9 million supplemental draw for the 2020-21 school year authorized by the Board in spring. And a $3.6 million draw to cover COVID-19 related costs during the 2019-2020 school year.

“While we are fortunate to have a strong endowment relative to other liberal arts institutions, I want to assure you that we take seriously our responsibility to be careful stewards of it as a critical resource that invests in the future of DePauw," White said.

Additional reporting by Katie Hunger