WILBERFORCE — Central State University should modify its budget policies and procedures to help maintain a balanced budget and collect past due accounts to help improve its financial situation.
Those were two of myriad recommendations made by State Auditor Dave Yost in a 45-page report to the university, which has been on fiscal watch since April.
“Now is the time for Central State to get its fiscal house in order, and an active board of trustees must start the process,” Yost said. “Strong leadership can ensure accounts are brought up-to-date and polices are in place to maintain balanced budgets.”
According to Ohio Administrative Code after a declaration of fiscal watch by the Ohio Board of Regents, the auditor is required to issue a report outlining the nature of the financial accounting and reporting problems of the college, as well as recommendations for corrective actions.
The auditor analyzed budgetary process; revenue activity; purchasing process, bidding and cash disbursements; payroll processing; debt administration; cash management and investing; financial reporting; and forecasting and planning.
Other recommendations to the university include approving a cash reserves policy for the university’s unrestricted cash balance; ensuring daily receipts are accounted for and are posted completely and accurately; following the university’s policy on withdrawing students with past-due balances, and if that is not feasible, revising the policy; and monitoring when debt payments are due and remit payment by the specified due date in order to avoid any penalties or interest that may be assessed.
The university said in a release that it has already begun reviewing for better operational effectiveness in student account receivables, cash reconciliations and comprehensive forecasting and planning.
“As the university seeks more effectiveness in operations, we welcome the findings of the auditor’s report and view the report as a benchmark for improving processes and development of policies that best fit the needs of the Central State University community,” the release said. “Many of the existing policies are not relevant to today’s operations and will have to be adjusted to be congruent with practice.”
A college is placed in fiscal watch if it receives a composite score of 1.75 or less in the Board of Regent’s financial ratio analysis required by Senate Bill 6. In 2013, Central State University received a composite score of 1.30 and a score of 1.0 in 2014. The Board of Trustees approved a recovery plan on June 11, 2015, and it was submitted to the Board of Regents on June 18, 2015.