Yeshiva University's Fiscal Crisis Deepens With No End in Sight

Students and Faculty Reeling From Deep Cuts


By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published December 20, 2013, issue of December 27, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Something drastic is happening at Yeshiva University.

Financial data reviewed by the Forward indicates that Y.U.’s long-running fiscal crisis has taken a more dramatic turn than at any time in its recent history.

This past spring, there were signals that the half-decade of economic free fall at Y.U. was finally easing. The board gave raises to the faculty, ending a four-year wage freeze. And the administration promised to increase contributions to faculty retirement accounts, reinstating cuts made at the nadir of the crisis.

Then, in late November, everything changed.

A November 20 letter to alumni suggested the crisis was growing, not abating. And on December 10, the school announced a new round of drastic cuts — including a revocation of the promised increases in retirement contributions.

The university won’t explain the reversal. “I’m not going to be able to offer you anything on this,” said Matt Yaniv, a Y.U. spokesman.

The faculty is worried. “We don’t really understand how this surprise occurred,” said one member of the undergraduate faculty, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “I really don’t understand how we got from June, where things are pretty good, to literally three months later where the situation, at least at the Manhattan campuses, seems to be [dire.]”

So what’s going on at Y.U.? A new report from credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s provides a clue: According to preliminary audit results, the school lost even more money in 2013 than it did in 2012.

The university’s 2013 fiscal year ended over the summer, and it has yet to finalize its financial statements. But S&P saw a preliminary version of the 2013 results in November while preparing its report, and they don’t look good.

According to S&P’s December 6 report, in which the agency downgraded Y.U.’s debt from an A+ rating to an A rating, Y.U.’s operating deficit in 2013 was even steeper than in 2012.

The school’s operating margin dropped from negative 13% in 2012 to negative 17% in 2013, meaning that its deficit grew as a share of its income. S&P doesn’t say the size of the 2013 deficit, but the 2012 deficit was $106 million.

Y.U. carried $493 million in debt as of the end of the 2012 fiscal year. The debt at the end of the 2013 fiscal year is not included in the report.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.