Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Reporting on the Right-To-Know Report

As I promised the other day, here's my look at the Penn State 2009 Right-To-Know Report. It's largely a disappointment.

Most of the information in the report, other than the salary data which received all of the press coverage two weeks ago and a couple of other bits which I'll discuss below, is available elsewhere. The advantage of the report is that it brings it together in single, easy to find, place. For example, the balance sheet information can be found in Penn State's Audited Financial Statement, as can the information on tax-exempt debt,$1,022,862,000.  Other information is available, but one must pull it together from two or more sources. Lobbying expenses, $830,085 falls into this category. The University reports this information to both the state and federal governments which in turn publishes the information. Those state and federal reports are in fact more informative.   The information on related tax-exempt entities is also available elsewhere. I know about them from digging around in GuideStar which publishes the Form 990's of such entities. However, not everyone thinks digging around in GuideStar is a great way to kill an evening. 

Information on educational grants, $119,465,776, might be pieced together from the Common Data Sets for all locations, but I'm not sure since the Common Data sets contain information for undergrads only.

There is information which I haven't seen elsewhere. Amongst these are  a complete listing of  taxable subsidiaries along with their total income and end of year assets; the total amount of money loaned to students by the University,$62,785,00; the amount of those loans which is doubtful, $19,171,000; the amount of money pledged to the University, $209,235,000 and the amount of those pledges which are doubtful, $63,536,000.

If you find any gems in the report that I've missed, let me know in comments or by email.

A final note. Next year's report should be a treasure trove of information. The current report covers fiscal year 2007-2008 which corresponds to tax year 2007. The IRS has updated its Form 990 for tax year 2008 and...lets just say the updated form will certainly give Graham nightmares.  

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