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This study is an assessment of the financial condition of a consortium of small private liberal arts colleges. Its conceptual framework consists of an ex post facto investigation of audited financial statements utilizing ratio analysis procedures developed by Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell and John Minter Associates to research hierarchical relationships between two sets of ratios: the Balance Sheet Ratios, which describe financial results, and Operating Ratios, which indicate the causes of the results. Intragroup comparisons among the institutions of the East Central College Consortium and intergroup comparisons with two sample groups randomly selected because of geographic proximity to the Consortium institutions, operating size, and expenditures per fulltime equivalent student were conducted in response to four research questions. The results of the investigation disclosed that there were discernible financial differences among the institutions of the Consortium and between the Consortium and the Comparison Groups. Specific findings included: (1) A very strong comparative position for the Consortium in the Balance Sheet Ratios of Financial Viability and Plant Equity and a less competitive position in the Expendable Funds Balance category; an indication of cumulative financial strength but limited cash reserves for unexpected financial problems. (2) Disparities in the operating results category for all three groups; the Consortium exhibited small and declining surpluses, while both Comparison Groups recorded substantially larger surpluses with improving trends. (3) Intra- and intergroup diversity in relationships between the six revenue sources and nine expenditures categories. (4) Trend information over four years which indicate that the Consortium did not keep pace with the more positive financial trends of the comparison groups; the seven growth indicators clearly illustrate trend differences relative to the base year of 1977. (5) Visual interpretation of financial data through detailed graphic illustrations, rankings, and trend consensus indices.