Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education

Prager & Co. is proud of the leadership role it has provided to the higher education community for two decades, as evidenced by publications, speaking engagements, and support of the community. Our book, Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, produced in partnership with KPMG and Attain and now in its seventh edition, has been a valuable reference tool for financial managers, trustees, and other interested parties associated with not-for-profit institutions.

Samples from five recent editions are available for download below in Adobe Acrobat format. To view the files, you must have Acrobat Reader installed, which is available here. We also have a limited supply of hard copy editions. Note that the fifth edition includes analyses specifically intended for public institutions, while the fourth edition continues to be relevant to private institutions. Please feel free to email us with any questions.

Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education
Update to The 7th Edition, Summer 2016

Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, Update to the 7th Edition

This update addresses significant changes in financial reporting and management by both private and public institutions since the 7th edition was published in 2010. This edition should be considered in the context of the 7th Edition, where the concepts discussed therein are developed more fully.

This update addresses the following topics:

  • Reintroducing the conceptual framework of core composite financial index ratios
  • Clarifying the calculation and meaning of expendable net assets
  • Explaining valuable secondary ratios
  • Assessing how changes in analysis by rating agencies impacts higher education
  • Evaluating how pension accounting changes—for publics—affect ratios and benchmarks

Abobe PDF Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, Update to the 7th Edition (Summary)

Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education:
Identifying, Measuring & Reporting Financial Risks 7th Edition

Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, 7th Edition

Since it was first published in 1980, the Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education (nee: Ratio Analysis in Higher Education) series has been acknowledged by leaders in the higher education industry as important financial publications and used extensively by trustees, senior managers, financial analysts, and credit analysts.

This seventh edition in the series, Identifying, Measuring & Reporting Financial Risks, reflects our observations that a paradigm shift has occurred regarding financial management of higher education institutions. It also reflects our conclusion that historical methods of monitoring institutional financial health, mitigating risks, and reporting on those risks need updating. Since we published the sixth edition in 2005, there have been dramatic changes in the economy and financial markets. The scrutiny of boards and senior management has significantly increased, and we expect this higher level of accountability will not abate in the future.

Abobe PDF Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, 7th Edition (Summary)

Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education 6th Edition

Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, 6th Edition

The book's new title reflects the fact that we recognize the increasing need to address numerous issues of strategic financial importance to boards and senior officers of both public and private institutions of higher learning, and not-for-profit organizations in general. This document recognizes the role that the use and analysis of financial ratios can have in supporting decisions of critical importance to the institution. The ratios should not be the focus; rather, they are tools to assist in the development of the answers to key questions of strategic financial importance.

This edition differs from prior editions in several important ways. For private institutions, since the fourth edition we have eliminated some ratios, have reconsidered how better to use others, and have added new ratios on facilities and debt management. For public institutions, following several years of operations under the new Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards, we have added many more ratios than appeared in the fifth edition. We have also introduced the concept of a Composite Financial Index (CFI), as well as other financial analytical and communication models.

Our approach to strategic financial analysis of higher education institutions is intended to apply to all types of public and private institutions, including large research and comprehensive universities, master institutions, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, individual institutions within a public higher education system, as well as the system itself, and large not-for-profit organizations. This edition is written for chief financial officers, trustees, senior administrators and financial analysts.

Abobe PDF Strategic Financial Analysis for Higher Education, 6th Edition

Ratio Analysis in Higher Education:
New Insights for Leaders of Public Higher Education 5th Edition

Ratio Analysis in Higher Education, 5th Edition

This fifth edition is designed for public colleges, universities and related entities that adopt Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement Nos. 34 and 35, which significantly change the manner in which financial information is presented and require institutions to depreciate their plant assets. These statements, along with several other related GASB standards, represent a watershed event in accounting and financial reporting that creates both challenges and opportunities for senior managers, governing boards and other stakeholders, including faculty, and legislative and administrative bodies.

Besides this significant change in reporting, leaders of higher education also need to contend with the effects of a turbulent environment: fluctuations in governmental appropriations; increasing demands for greater accountability, access and efficiency; constant changes in technology; and the erosion of traditional geographical boundaries, among many other issues.

These challenges must be addressed by senior managers differently than in the past to enable public higher education to prosper. Senior financial managers must continue to expand their traditional role and become even more involved with strategy, values and vision. They need to employ enhanced communication skills and different models for financial analysis to communicate financial resource availability, needs and allocation decisions to their various stakeholders. To aid their understanding, this publication introduces a financial ratio model and framework and a strategic approach to managing debt.

Abobe PDF Ratio Analysis in Higher Education, 5th Edition (for public institutions)

Ratio Analysis in Higher Education: Measuring Past Performance to Chart Future Direction 4th Edition

Ratio Analysis in Higher Education, 4th Edition

The fourth edition, published in 1999, significantly advanced financial ratio analysis and introduced several new models and concepts to higher education finance, including the use of financial ratios in strategic planning.

Many leaders in higher education view the fourth edition as a milestone publication in finance for private institutions. Trustees, senior managers, financial analysts and credit agencies use it extensively.

Abobe PDF Ratio Analysis in Higher Education, 4th Edition (for private institutions)