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Education

GASB Offers Uniform Guidance on Certain Debt Extinguishment

The latest Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) Statement establishes uniform guidance regarding certain debt repayment methods. Issued on May 15, GASB Statement No. 86, Certain Debt Extinguishment Issues, stems from Exposure Draft No. 19-25E, Certain Debt Extinguishment Issues, which was released in August. GASB Statement No. 86 offers state and local governments guidance pertaining to derecognizing debt defeased in substance. When debt is defeased in substance, debt and monetary assets placed in trust do not have to be disclosed in financial statements. However, governments must disclose information about debt defeased in substance in the financial statements’ notes. GASB Statement No. 86 also. Read More.

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Illinois Budget Issues Impacting Colleges & Universities

Illinois hasn’t had a budget for almost two years, causing a major ripple effect in the state’s education sector. According to an examination released by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, reduced educational funding has forced state public colleges and universities to lay off employees, cut staff salaries, and end degree programs. In some cases, higher institutions have had to put staff members on furlough. With no state budget in sight, the situation has caused prospective students to look elsewhere for education, further decreasing enrollment numbers and the financial strength of Illinois colleges and universities. More on Illinois’ budget woes is available at the Nonprofit Quarterly website.

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GAO Calls for Improved Grant Monitoring Oversight

According to a study of 75 discretionary grant programs, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has concluded that the Department of Education grant staff failed to effectively monitor grantee performance. The GAO found that inconsistent grant monitoring has led to around $21 million in discretionary grant funds lacking proper documentation. In particular, 69 of the 75 grants studied were missing key documents such as annual performance reports. As a result of its findings, the Department of Education has agreed to the GAO’s recommendations of implementing detailed written supervisory review procedures and establishing guidance on using the Post-Award Monitoring module. More on the discretionary grants review is available on GAO.gov.

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College Tuition Discount Rate Close to 50 Percent

The National Association of College and University Business Officers’ (“NACUBO”) latest study shows that tuition discounts at colleges and universities are on the rise again. Due to low tuition revenue and weak enrollment numbers, the average tuition discount rate in 2016-17 for a first-time, full-time student increased to 49.1 percent (48 percent for previous year). Counting all undergraduates, the average rate increased to 44.2 percent (43 percent for previous year), marking new record highs for the annual study. NACUBO’s Ken Redd contributes higher financial needs since the Great Recession and growing competition for new students due to a decreasing number. Read More.

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Implementation Guide Published for GASB Statement 74

Announced in its May 9 press release , the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) has released Implementation Guide No. 2017-2, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans. The Implementation Guide features answers to over 150 questions related to GASB Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans. Download Implementation Guide No. 2017-2 at GASB.org.

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FAFSA Online Data Breach Discussed in Testimony

Testimony last week before the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee offered details on a breach involving the data-retrieval tool used to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”). According to Timothy Camus of the Investigations at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, hackers used taxpayers’ personal information to begin the FASFA application process and gain access to their adjusted gross income via the data-retrieval tool. Around 100,000 taxpayers were impacted by the data breach, causing the FAFSA online tool shut down in March . More on the FAFSA data breach testimony is available on the Journal of Accountancy website.

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