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Business School Finances: A 10-Year Look at Operating Budgets and Endowments at AACSB-Accredited Schools

December 2014

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

Providing a good education costs money, and today’s business schools are constantly working to find more effective and efficient ways to provide those educational benefits to their students, fairly compensate their faculty and staff, and maintain the necessary physical and technological infrastructure to keep up with the needs of a rapidly evolving business world. The funding that a school has available for these purposes is usually part of their annual operating budget or their endowments.

In looking at a set of 357 AACSB-accredited business schools over a 10-year period, 333 of those schools provided annual operating budget figures for all of the included years. While both the mean and median have trended upward, where growth continued stronger from 2004-05 through 2008-09, the percent change per year was much more modest from 2009-10 through 2013-14.


The smaller growth numbers in operating budgets were likely due to the economic stress and changes taking place in 2008-09 and 2009-10. While the world economy has continued to recover, business schools have seen only modest increases in the upward trends for budgets.

Endowments are another resource that many business schools draw on for their financial stability to maintain a strong education system. However, as endowment funds are often invested to continue their growth, this does mean that they can be more affected by any volatile changes in the marketplace. As the graph based on 298 schools below shows, both the mean and median endowments were lower in 2009-10 and did not surpass their 2008-09 levels again until 2011-12.