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V6I3: Changes to the Annual Report for Summer 2024 

Ron Larsen, Senior Vice President, NWCCU 

Aaron Christopher, Vice President for Finance and Administration, NWCCU 

In partnership with our member institutions, we have been streamlining institutional Annual Reports each year. Information and data in the Annual Reports are reviewed by the NWCCU Staff Liaisons and used for evaluative purposes and to provide feedback in support of continuous improvement to promote student outcomes at NWCCU member institutions. This year we have further streamlined the reporting requirements, which we hope fill further reduce the burden on our member institutions. 

Our Goals for the Updated Annual Report 

There are several drivers behind the updates to the Summer 2024 Annual Report: 

  1. Reduce the amount and complexity of the financial data we are collecting. We want to focus on a limited set of financial data that is (a) easy for our institutions to provide, and (b) useful in allowing us to monitor the financial health of our institutions. 
  2. Collect data to allow institutions to meet the compliance requirements and assist in their efforts to continuously improve. 
  3. Collect data in a way that allows NWCCU to prepare a summary of each institution’s annual report to help the NWCCU Staff Liaisons to focus their efforts more directly in supporting their portfolio of institutions. 

What Data Are We Collecting? 

Primarily, we are collecting enrollment data and financial data. 

Enrollment Data 

NWCCU has the ability to gather enrollment data directly from IPEDS, but there is a significant lag in the currency of IPEDS data, requiring us to seek current enrollment data from the institutions as part of the annual report.  

Last year we required submission of Headcount enrollment data so that we could calculate Significant Enrollment Growth using the Federally mandated formula. In addition to requiring Headcount enrollment data, starting this year, we are seeking FTE Enrollment since that information is particularly useful to account for full- and part-time students, and is often used for resource allocation. 

Because of the new approach to data collection and use in providing feedback and support to our member institutions, we are requesting Headcount and FTE enrollment data for your institution for the three most recent years.

In the table below, as an example, we are seeking both Headcount and FTE enrollment data. The three-year data is for the total enrollment values. Detail values (separating undergraduate, graduate, and dual credit; part time and full time) are requested only for the most recent year. 

Enrollment Summary

Financial Data 

Financial data for the most recent three years (Fiscal Year 2023, 2022, 2021) we are requesting five values that should be readily available on your institution’s audited financials

From the Statement of Financial Position (or, Balance Sheet): 

  • Cash and cash equivalents + Investments 

From the Statement of Activities (or, Statement of Revenues, Expenses, and Changes in Net Position, or Income Statement):

  • Tuition and fees revenue (net of institutional financial aid and discounting) 
  • Total Operating Revenues (exclude hospital revenues) 
  • E&G + Auxiliary Expenditures (exclude hospital expenditures, typically similar to Total Operating Expenses on Statement of Activities) 
  • Increase (Decrease) in Total Net Assets (or, Net Position, Net Income)

These data will allow us to determine your institution’s financial situation. This is by no means a complete financial picture, but we are hopeful that this is enough to monitor the financial health of our member institutions; if additional details are needed, we would require a Financial Resources Review. 

We will provide examples of how to identify these values on audited financial statements produced under both GASB and FASB systems. These will be available on the NWCCU website (under Resources) when the Summer 2024 Annual Report launches in May. As a reminder, external audits should be completed within 15 months of the end of each fiscal year (Eligibility Requirement 20) and provided annually as part of the Annual Report. 

Peer Comparator Data 

To comply with Standard 1.D.3 institutions must identify a set of peer institutions at the regional and national level. This Standard was adopted in 2020 and institutions have recently been informed of and trained to identify peers; please review this guidance or contact your NWCCU Staff Liaison, if you have questions.  

NWCCU has developed institutional and peer data dashboards based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and institutional annual reports. The peer comparator data will continue to be refined with data from peers identified by our member institutions. 

We anticipate we will be able to allow you to select peer institutions from a drop-down list to identify your institution’s peer comparators data set. 

Follow-Up Reporting 

The annual report will ask for information related to specific Standards and in response to institution-specific, outstanding Recommendations. 

  • Web Address for your student success data (Standard 1.D.3) 
  • Progress on Outstanding Recommendations – institutions must provide a brief update on progress to resolve the Recommendations. These are not reports, merely a sentence or two per Recommendation indicating the status of the work. 
  • Substantive Change Follow-Up Reports – we have increasingly been asking institutions to follow up with major substantive changes by attaching a brief report to the annual report. These reports have a new name: Substantive Change Follow-Up Reports. The approval of a major substantive change almost invariably involves some speculation on the part of the reviewers. For example, the Budget Worksheet includes estimates for enrollment and finances. A common use of the follow-up report is to ask how actual enrollment and finances compared with those listed in the Budget Worksheet. If there are significant differences, how will the institution respond? 

Not all institutions will have a Substantive Change Follow-Up Report, but the annual report provides a mechanism to collect them when requested. 

Summary Page for Your Institutional Liaison 

A final goal for the annual report update is to create a more useful tool for the NWCCU Staff Liaisons to be able to scan an Annual Report Summary Page for the institution to determine what data has been reported and where follow-up is needed. 

It is our hope that the updated Annual Report will be easier to complete while providing more useful data for compliance monitoring and to assist your institutional liaison to support your institution’s efforts at continuous quality improvement. As always, please contact your NWCCU Staff Liaison with questions and concerns. 

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