The Boulder Daily Camera reports that Naropa University has fired an employee after discovering $450,000 had been embezzled over the past two years. In addition, the school’s chief financial officer and comptroller were fired for failure to establish proper controls.
Naropa is a small, Buddhist-based university in Boulder with a combined enrollment of around 2000 students. University President Stuart Lord said that finances will not be affected for students as a result of the embezzlement. A perusal of the school’s tuition and fees however, shows significant increases from the 2008-09 academic year to the 2009-10 as indicated in the table below.
The total cost for a full-time student living on campus rose by $3394 or 10.1%. In contrast, the University of Colorado at Boulder saw an increase of only 6.4% over the same period.
According to the University’s self-study, (see page 48), Naropa relied on tuition for 92% of its total revenue for the 2009-10 academic year. This compares with an average of 60-70% for comparable institutions.
Although President Lord indicated that student finances are not affected, it is curious that tuition rose steeply at a school where tuition constitutes a disproportionate percentage of revenues during the period when the money was embezzled.