FIT Report Shows CIC Colleges’ Financial Health Continuing to Improve

The tenth annual edition of CIC’s Financial Indicators Tool (FIT) benchmarking report, released in July at no cost to every Institutional Member, indicates that the financial health of CIC colleges and universities has improved since the 2008–2009 recession. In the aggregate, the Composite Financial Index (CFI) scores, an indicator of institutional financial performance, continued to show signs of strengthening in 2013–2014, the most recent year for which data are available publicly.

The FIT report results are widely used by CIC colleges and universities to benchmark financial outcomes and to aid budget projections and strategic planning. The FIT helps presidents and other campus leaders track over time and assess against similar institutions’ resource sufficiency, indebtedness, investment performance, operating results, and overall financial condition of the institutions.

The FIT uses a set of financial performance measures that rely on the CFI, originally developed for the National Association of College and University Business Officers by Prager, Sealy & Co.; KPMG; and Attain. The CFI is based on four core financial ratios, each representing a particular domain of financial operations. CIC relies on publicly available data from GuideStar, using IRS form 990, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to avoid an additional reporting burden on member colleges.

This is the first year that the benchmarking project has been supported by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, allowing CIC to continue to provide the reports at no cost to members. The Austen Group, a division of Ruffalo Noel Levitz, gathers the data and prepares the FIT reports for CIC. View more information about the FIT and other CIC benchmarking services or contact Hollie Chessman, CIC’s director of research projects, at

Bar chart: College Doesn't Have to Break the Bank - Average total student loan debt per Bachelor's degree recipient