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UCA's cash cushion gets plush

UCA in position to consider purchases, facility improvements and bonus pay for faculty.

Posted: August 3, 2012 - 5:31pm

After years of struggling to climb out of a financial hole, the University of Central Arkansas has gained ground and managed to tuck away $12,058,765 in unrestricted cash reserves, said President Tom Courtway during the Board of Trustee's retreat Friday.

The gain means the university is in a position to consider new projects, including improving its facilities, spokesman Jeff Pitchford said.

Trustees said they were impressed by UCA’s progress. Trustee Victor Green said the progress is “absolutely phenomenal.”

“It shows you what people can do when you work toward a common goal,” Green said.

Just five years ago, UCA struggled with a negative cash reserve of $6,835,463 for fiscal 2007-2008, according to documents provided by UCA. The school didn’t know whether it could meet its payroll obligations, but slowly began to crawl back into the black, officials said. Between fiscal 2008-2009 and fiscal 2011-2012, the university went from about $1.6 million to nearly $5.5 million. But the recent gain is only $3 million short of UCA’s ideal goal of $15 million in cash reserves and is a 120 percent jump over cash available at the same time last year.

Even after transferring $2.8 million for needs like housing and student services, another $4.5 million for educational facilities and paying the university’s payroll out of reserves, UCA has $12 million in unrestricted, unallocated cash reserves during what officials call the leanest month of the year.

“This university has made substantial progress,” Courtway said.

The turn around in UCA’s finances means the board can consider improving facilities and housing that have suffered in the past few years, Pitchford said. With UCA so close to reaching its cash financial goal, it’s time for the board to consider projects that the school needs, like a new science building and improved housing, trustees and Pitchford said.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Diane Newton said she and her team are developing a housing plan to show the board in September. Also, the university’s financial gain might mean a bonus payment to faculty if the total student enrollment increases this fall, Courtway said.

 

UCA has set aside about $1.7 million in a holding account that would fund a one-time, across-the-board bonus, Courtway said.

The increase in cash to UCA is the “culmination of hard work,” Board Chairman Bobby Reynolds said. Officials said the revenue build up is from all over campus.

When a professor retired, officials either didn’t rehire or postponed hiring and squirreled away the money that would have gone to the professor, Pitchford said. When a student who had earned a scholarship to UCA decided not to attend, that money went back to UCA coffers too, he said.

Newton said ways UCA built up its cash reserves include savings in salaries, scholarships and utilities over years.

“It’s not an individual, it’s the whole campus that has gotten us back on track,” Newton said.

The university’s policies have changed too, Newton said.

Since former President Lu Hardin left UCA in August 2008, the university has fought not to use cash for large purchases and to build up its reserves, officials said. Everything UCA does is evaluated, and there are no “knee-jerk” projects, Newton said.

“We are staying within our means,” Pitchford said.

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i_wonder
27122
Points
i_wonder 08/03/12 - 11:03 pm
4
1
So
Unpublished

How's about throwing a new air filter in the Burdick Building, just saying.

Plush huh? Great song.

sevenof400
7003
Points
sevenof400 08/03/12 - 11:13 pm
4
2
HOW ABOUT CUTTING TUITION AND THOSE !(_*&(!@*#^&_^ FEES!!!!!!

Sorry about shouting there but it is beyond ridiculous that UCA fails to take steps to make school more affordable for the group paying most of the bills....the students!

A recent ADG article pointed out how expensive UCA is due (in part) to the students bearing a significant brunt of the cost of athletics programs. Come on Tom, give the students a break on the cost of attending UCA.

Wingnut
308
Points
Wingnut 08/04/12 - 02:56 am
2
0
I agree

I haven't been to a game in a couple of years but still I pay those happy fees for what I will not use.

ucantbserious
30354
Points
ucantbserious 08/06/12 - 09:49 am
0
0
Silly person

UCA lowering tuition? Now that's just crazy talk!

This money is burning a hole in UCA's pocket. They'll blow through it in no-time and then another tuition hike will be just around the corner.

Wingnut
308
Points
Wingnut 08/04/12 - 03:02 am
2
0
How about raises

Some of the professors haven't had a raise in years. The really good profs are probably going to say f-this eventually and go for something better. I hope they don't spend the money on getting rid of another nice parking lot. It is already impossible to a place to park on campus unless you have a motorcycle/scooter (thankfully I do).

TCJones
185
Points
TCJones 08/04/12 - 01:59 pm
2
1
Sorry to say...

You're right on the money Wing-nut.

But I've decided if I were to get a job at UCA, which will never happen. I've concluded that if I can't afford to attend graduate school, I surely cannot afford to work there.

TCJones
185
Points
TCJones 08/04/12 - 01:44 pm
1
1
Imagine that...

Well for my Alma Mater, i am happy to see and hear they are once again in the pink er um black. After they got rid of the corporate-fascist-capitalists who'd rather charter a private jet due to a golf game, wasting thousands of dollars and only getting a slap on the wrist of 5 years probation. Perhaps Big Bubba would have shown him how to pinch a penny if given the chance.

I've thought of going back to work on a graduate degree, but I don't have the stomach to drive there and pay ridiculous fees for non-existent parking and seeing aging equipment barely out of the stone-age; but decide to say thanks but no thanks. I've already got 50k in student loans to repay since my dear Alma Mater doesn't help graducates find employment in any reasonable manner.

I'm glad you're doing well UCA, but I'm sure there will be another wolf in sheeps clothing and you'll be right back where you started from; and crying over stolen funds and instead of giving raises to over-worked employees and professors, you'll build new buildings which leave even less parking for students. See nothing changes but the names and the faces, it's the same old dog and pony show we've seen before.

TCJones
185
Points
TCJones 08/04/12 - 01:55 pm
2
1
OH, I forgot to add...

I attended Pulaski Tech, which ran about 1500-2000 per semester. I attended this college for 4 years due to the fact that ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOLS did not do their job in ensuring graduates were ready for college. Just the reverse, I had to take 2 years worth of preperatory classes (intermediate level) just to even take college-level courses. I did it and yes I graduated. That used up about 20k of my 55k I could get in student loans and Pell Grants. Then I went to UCA, which was 4 X what it cost at Pulaski Tech. I'd get a full Pell grant, plus subsidized and unsubsidized loans just to break-even at UCA. I barely had enough money left-over to put in my gas tank to get there, not to mention books, which ran 1200 a semester or more. Those ratty old books, costing 100 dollars or more.

It seems like a scam, it's an institution which makes money off the backs of students who have scholarships, and it's too expensive, way-too expensive. How can struggling families going to afford this BS cost at UCA? And this is a "CHEAP" school, not Ivy League. If college costs go up as trends dictate, then we're in trouble and the Student Loan bubble is going to pop sooner or later and it will make the housing bubble crisis look like an exploding bubble-gum dispenser compared to what the Student Loan bubble will look like when it explodes and then the S will HTF, big-time.

Drivin' n' Cryin'
38
Points
Drivin' n' Cryin' 08/05/12 - 05:38 am
6
1
A couple thoughts

1. Not everyone should attend college. If you have to take 2 years of remedial courses, maybe you didn't pay attention when it was free in high school. I'm sure all of your classmates didn't have to take remedial courses. Or, maybe you tried, but you just couldn't grasp the concepts. That's fine. Rather than the college route, maybe a trade is a better idea.

2. I can't believe that anyone pays $1200 per semester for books. Maybe the first semester before you get a clue, but never more than once. I attend UCA and I sit in class next to students who paid over $100 for the book. They notice my book has a different cover. I explain that I bought the previous edition for $4 online, then we look at the same pictures and text in both books. I don't think I've spend over $150 TOTAL in the last 4 years at UCA.

3. When you ran up all that debt, weren't you watching the news or reading the paper? Didn't you see the situation the US economy was in?

4. Finally, this was not intended to put TCJones down. Rather, parents of students should be actively involved in helping their kids chart a viable future. They're just kids. They need help and guidance. Without it, they'll end up bitter and blaming someone else, which is sort of what TCJones is doing now. I wish him, and other people in similar situations the best of luck. Stay strong, stay positive, and sacrifice in your spending to get that debt down quickly.

TCJones
185
Points
TCJones 08/05/12 - 12:16 pm
1
4
Perhaps You Need To...

Read my posts in their entirety.

I am 47 years old. I have an Associate of Applied Science Degree PLUS a Bachelor of Science Degree.

I'm sure the "remedial" classes you refer to, were not even offered when I was in high school, probably before you were even born.

Those classes were "intermediate-level" not "remedial." Perhaps you need to refer to a dictionary to learn the difference.

I attended both institutions before the economy collapsed 2001 and 2006 respectively. Don't judge before you know the facts.

I'm not blaming anyone except our politicians for a lack of jobs, perhaps a little blame needs to be spread-around to UCA, as well, because they have no "real" help for graduates to find employment. Once you graduate, you are on your own, at least in my degree field.

If you cannot conceive books costing 1200.00 a semester, perhaps you haven't attended advanced degree classes, they do and can cost this much, especially when you have other supplies as calculators, hard-drives, and other required items needed for a particular class.

My advice for you is to develop a keen view of how critical thinking and attention to detail matters, especially in college, because you missed some very important aspects in my posts regarding my collegiate experience and achievements.

Trade...yeah right, why a trade when I have two degrees which make that look like grade-school. Be real.

Perhaps you cannot grasp the concept of reading, especially when you assert "certain" things which never happened in my college experience. Please pay attention or you'll never get anywhere posting things like that before you've verified the facts, dear sir or madam.

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