Home > Current Events, Numbers > “$300 million” Liberty University budget, revisited

“$300 million” Liberty University budget, revisited

The National Center for Charitable Statistics entry for Liberty University has links to eight years of tax returns (IRS Form 990) for fiscal years 2001-2008. Liberty’s fiscal year ends the last day of June the following year, so fiscal 2001 ends June 30, 2002, etc. When the Roanoke Times article I referred to earlier said Liberty’s operating budget was $300 million, the most recent year would have been fiscal 2007, when total expenses (line 17) were $295,566,398. The most recent Form 990 available from NCCS is for fiscal year 2008, when total expenses were $321,178,513.

I realize “total expenses” as reported on the Form 990 and “budget” aren’t the same thing, but it’s reasonable to expect them to be similar, both for a given year and as a trend over multiple years.

Here are the total expenses numbers for eight trailing fiscal years:

2001: $072,025,771

2002: $089,984,456

2003: $114,294,647

2004: $150,496,014

2005: $199,694,135

2006: $247,621,760

2007: $295,566,398

2008: $321,178,513

These are amazing numbers; they show sustained 24-33% growth every year 2001-2006, followed by 19% and 9% growth the following two years. It’s worth noting that Liberty started capping enrollment in 2008; I suppose at some point the school starts to strain the pool of potential students, even for Liberty University Online.

We’ll look forward to an update after Liberty files its return for fiscal 2009.

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