Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is Eric Darr misrepresenting enrollment numbers again?! Is Harrisburg University making fraudulent claims to bond holders?

You may recall that the Editorial Board over at the Patriot-News decided to throw any type of journalistic integrity out the window and let HU use them for some much needed positive PR. Apparently, all those pencil holders HU keeps sending over to the Patriot-News really paid off. The July 2012 article includes this gem:

Source: Patriot-News July 2012

Did ya' catch that? Notice how Darr quickly equates "commitments" to enrolled freshman? That's extremely disingenuous. I'm just a blogger and I know commitments don't equate to enrollments. Do you think Darr, the acting president of a university doesn't know that? Is he incompetent or is he a liar? Here are HU's historical commitments:


HU's Enrollment data for the quarter ending 6/30/2012

You'll notice that in the Fall of 2011, HU had 148 commitments, but only 91 students actually enrolled. In the Fall of 2010, HU had 126 commitments, but only 78 students actually enrolled. The story is the same for every other year.

But wait, there's more! Below is a chart that HU submitted as part of their financial documents related to their bonds. Notice anything about the chart?

HU's Enrollment data for the quarter ending 6/30/2012

If you said "HU is comparing commitments to actual past enrollment to make it appear that there is growth" give yourself a cookie! This appears to be an attempt to mislead bondholders into thinking HU is in a better position than it really is. This could very well be fraudulent. I wonder who prepared that chart?

The reality is that HU had 148 commitments last year and currently has about 157 commitments. You don't need to be a university president to figure out that that is extremely poor growth and falls far short of the enrollment numbers HU needs to become financially sound.

[Edit 8/13] Darr continues his deceptive numbers game in an Op Ed printed by the Patriot-News. He states "From 2011 to 2012, HU’s first-year student commitments leapt by 38 percent." I guess it sounds a lot better than "We got 8 more freshman than last year!"
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