6/16/14 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University is reporting that it has ended the 2013-2014 fiscal year with a balanced budget.
Dr. Stephen Storck, AU’s vice president for finance and administration, stated “These are especially challenging times in all of higher education and Ashland University has taken a number of steps to address the financial aspects of a comprehensive university. As we close the books on 2013-14, we are on track to report an increase in net assets on our audited financial statements, which will be released in early fall.”
“I am pleased to report that on May 31, the university ended its fiscal year with a balanced budget,” said AU President Dr. Fred Finks.
“We have trimmed costs from our operating budget and also developed additional revenue streams to the university in order to achieve this result. This has all been in an effort to place the university on stable financial footing and to improve ratings with agencies like Moody’s,” Finks said. “The additional revenue streams that have resulted from the implementation of new academic programs will help to ensure that our programs are meeting the needs of our students and employers, thereby serving to sustain the University in the future.”
Finks said he is proud and thankful of the efforts of the entire Ashland campus in this accomplishment. “The achievement of a balanced budget could not have happened without the contributions from strategic, campus wide initiatives to reduce administrative and academic costs and budget reductions shared by all units across campus," Finks said.
With budget cuts having been enacted over the past several years, the University engaged in a comprehensive review of the University structures and made several reorganizational changes.
“These included staffing positions at all levels including the restructuring and elimination of two vice president’s positions,” Finks said. “The University combined retirements, early retirements, resignations, non-renewals, and position buyouts and personnel reductions to help in the balanced budget approach. Several positions were reduced to 11 months to reflect the lesser demand over the summer.”
In addition to resizing the budget, several new streams of revenue began to show growth, according to Finks. He said the new criminal justice online program that began in January is seeing steady growth as is the master of education degree’s new student enrollment, which is the first increase for that program since the summer of 2010.
"We balanced the budget by cutting back wherever we could, increased revenue streams and placed a strong emphasis on fundraising," Finks added, noting that the University received a total of $4 million in gifts during the month of May as well as another $1 million in a charitable lead annuity trust.
Storck added, “We are seeing some very positive signs for 2014-15, but believe it will continue to be a challenging year. We will maintain vigilance on spending and will continue to explore the addition of new academic programs. We also are seeing some positive signs with our tuition reset and anticipate an increase in new student enrollment for the fall.”
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###