Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2015 Caroline R. Counts
The prominence and size of For Profit Universities (FPUs) today has led to increased regulation and oversight. One important regulation is the 90/10 rule which states that FPUs cannot receive more than 90% of their revenue from government Title IV funds. The regulations require publicly traded For Profit Universities to not only comply with the 90/10 rule but also to disclose their score on their financial statements. There however, is little research studying the quality of these disclosures. My paper studies the readability and complexity of the 90/10 score disclosure in relation to the 90/10 score. My findings suggest that as the 90/10 score increases, the readability of the disclosure decreases. I find that the percent change in 90/10 score is matched with large percent change in word count showing the greater the increase in 90/10 score the greater the increase in words in the disclosure. I also find that the traditional readability index, the Gunning Fog Index is unreliable in the financial statements of FPUs because of understood but complex industry specific words. I find also that as the 90/10 score increases the likelihood that firm reports the prior year score decreases. I argue that publicly traded FPUs use tactics to increase the complexity of their disclosures when the 90/10 score is high or increasing.
Counts, Caroline R., "Obscure U: Complexity and Complicity in For-Profit University Financial Statements" (2016). CMC Senior Theses. 1294.