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Education

University of Louisville Foundation Engaging in Wasteful Spending

The University of Louisville Foundation has released a 135-page report outlining a series of wasteful spending practices. According to the independent investigating firm that authored the report, foundation officers repeatedly spent money on unbudgeted expenses and unapproved actions. Board directors were often kept in the dark on such actions, which prevented them from making informed financial decisions. Further, the report says that the foundation combined cash reserves, which made funding sources for certain transactions difficult to identify.  J. David Grissom, chairman of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees, said legal action has not been ruled out, but he expects that. Read More.

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University of Wisconsin Reaches Midpoint of Naming Agreement

With the University of Wisconsin Madison at the halfway point of its 20-year deal to keep the name of its business school intact, campus administrators and donors are reflecting on the agreement. Thoughts have consisted of the upside of the deal and what its future may hold. Most recently, there have been talks on whether donations can be used to delay the ending of the deal. Such talks have opened a larger discussion about college fundraising efforts, naming rights, and the impact on a university’s identity. The discussion has also garnered interest from donors, who consider the Wisconsin naming deal. Read More.

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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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