As events in the business sector have highlighted, companies can play by the rules and yet produce misleading financial statements. This study examines the nongovernmental organizations that provide a substantial portion of higher education in the United States. We seek to determine whether private colleges and universities take advantage of the discretion available to them under accounting and auditing standards by presenting an operating measure in their statement of activities. We find that nearly 60 percent of schools report an operating measure but the items included or excluded from operations vary widely.
This publication is Hauser Center Working Paper No. 17. The Hauser Center Working Paper Series was launched during the summer of 2000. The Series enables the Hauser Center to share with a broad audience important works-in-progress written by Hauser Center scholars and researchers.