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Illustration by Shahd Nigim

Decoding NYUAD’s 2019-2020 financial disclosures

Who are the highest earners at NYUAD? And how much do NYUAD’s highest-paid individuals earn? Has NYUAD reported positive or negative income?

On an annual basis, NYU Abu Dhabi provides a detailed, yet limited, breakdown of its finances through submissions made by New York University Abu Dhabi Corporation to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). By being registered as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation in the United States, this status excuses most charitable organizations and universities from taxation, and makes any contributions to the organization tax deductible. Because of this classification as ‘single organization support (Educational Institutions and Related Activities)’, corporations such as NYUAD are required to fill the IRS 990 form, which lists the totality and composition of the university’s revenue, expenses, assets and liabilities.
The latest 990 form information to have been released comes from the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which was published after The Gazelle’s previous reporting on the issue. This year’s financial statements are of particular interest given the impact that the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic might have had on expenditure, and the significant changes in senior leadership that have taken place over the past three years. The disclosures suggest that for the fourth consecutive year, the corporation spent as much as it earnt, reporting no positive or negative income. Both revenue and expenses increased by approximately 12 million USD (44 million AED), or 6.1 percent from 201.05 million USD (739 million AED) to 213.38 million USD (783.8 million AED). This marks the highest revenue and expenditure in the NYUAD corporation’s history.
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The primary expenses of NYUAD corporation pertain to employee compensation. The disclosures also provide a breakdown of the compensation of officers, directors, trustees, key employees, highest compensated employees and independent contractors. In addition to those directly paid by NYUAD, this list of 23 individuals includes those paid directly by related organizations, such as NYU New York. The following is a breakdown of these compensations.
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The highest earners in the above visualization were primarily paid directly by NYU, including Former NYU President Andrew Hamilton, Directors Katherine Fleming and Martin Dorph and Former President John Sexton. The highest earner directly paid by NYUAD in the 2019-20 financial year was Fatma Abdulla, Senior Vice Provost of Strategy and Planning at NYUAD, out-earning several key leaders in administration from the New York office with a reported base compensation of 1,058,467 USD. She has since been named the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategy and Planning beginning September 2021.
A familiar name to students at NYUAD is Kyle Farley, the former Associate Vice Chancellor for Student affairs, who left the institution in August 2022. He has since gone on to become a Partner at MFK Consulting and a “special advisor to Kearney Consulting on the creation of a new university in the Emirates” according to his Linkedin profile. After further investigation into the whereabouts of the top earners presented in the visualization, it seems that over 10 people on the list have either retired or moved on to positions at other universities and firms including former Dean of the Social Sciences Herve Cres and Lily Burns-Hernandez, the former Associate Vice Chancellor of Operations. Only three of NYU’s top earners for the year 2019-2020 have gone on to be promoted within the institution (with one from the Abu Dhabi administration), and we expect to see them climb up the list in the next financial year.
It is interesting to note that the Dean of Social Science, the Dean of Engineering and the Senior Vice Provost of Research are the only academic faculty from NYUAD included in this list. However, since this report, Paula England was named the Dean of Social Science in 2021 replacing Herves Cres who held the position between 2014 and 2021. It is surprising to see that the Divisional Deans of the other academic fields including the Arts and Humanities and Science had not been reported in the top earners list for the financial year 2019-2020.
As was previously the case, government grants continued to be the predominant source of revenue for the NYUAD corporation. Such grants increased from 189.2 million USD (695.1 million AED) in 2018-2019 to 202.5 million USD in 2019-2020, comprising about 95 percent of total revenue. The university also derived 9.7 million dollars (35.6 million AED) in rental income and 1.21 million dollars (4.4 million AED) in other income. New York University Abu Dhabi Corporation’s expenses were entirely employee related for the fifth consecutive year.
More detailed information on NYUAD’s financials can be found by reviewing aggregated statistics on Guidestar and ProPublica’s archive of 990 forms.
Sachinta Pilapitiya is Deputy Columns Editor and Shyalina Muthumudalige is a Staff Writer. Email them at
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