By Jacob Wolf, Chief Distribution Officer
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Inc. is registered as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. As a result, its financial information is open for public inspection via its IRS Form 990’s and Audited Financial Statements, all of which can be found on the ERAU website . Together, these documents give a snapshot of ERAU’s monetary workings.
On June 30, 2022, ERAU had $1,326,425,000 in total assets . These include $201,809,000 in cash/cash equivalents and $199,469,000 in short-term investments . Dr. Randy Howard, ERAU’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, described these funds as ERAU’s “operating reserves,” whose primary purpose is liquidity. “If you think about a university, we typically get most of our revenue at two points in time – spring semester and fall semester. But we pay bills all year long,” said Dr. Howard.
These reserves “allow us to invest in things when we need to,” Dr. Howard explained, citing facilities projects like the “new Student Union coming up on the horizon, some big renovations out on the flightline, you know, of course the new residence halls that are already built, the new wind tunnel and propulsion hangar, a whole lot of new aircraft and simulators for the flight department.”
Most of ERAU’s funds come from its customer base: the students. Students paid ERAU $344,040,000 in tuition in the fiscal year ending in 2022, and received $134,143,000 in institutionally funded scholarships (IFS) . Dr. Howard said ERAU has recently “grown our IFS… If you looked at that number, you know, eight or ten years ago it would be significantly smaller.”
Steve Ridder, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the Daytona Beach Campus, was compensated $490,654 in calendar year 2020, nearly $140,000 more than Dr. Anette Karlsson, Chancellor of the Prescott Campus . When asked to explain Mr. Ridder’s high pay, Dr. Howard stated, “as a matter of practice the University does not comment on an individual’s specific compensation.”
It should be noted that Mr. Ridder is by all accounts a phenomenal basketball coach, and has led Daytona Beach’s men’s team since 1989 . His compensation information, alongside that of RAU’s officers, directors, and key employees, is included in Schedule J of the Form 990 .
Regarding the overall status of ERAU’s finances, Dr. Howard wanted readers to know “we’ve got a strong and growing financial position. We’ve gotten stronger every year, and that’s allowed us to invest in a lot of things;” one specific example being the people who make Embry-Riddle happen day-to-day: the faculty and staff.
Dr. Howard explained, “we’ve invested in a lot of faculty and staff. As we’ve grown the University we’ve continued to increase the number of faculty and staff we have, and make sure we can retain them. So bottom line, I think we’re in great shape.”