No, not the end of Gradeapalooza — that should come tomorrow (he said, knocking wood.)
The good news is a dose of stability for my employer. Like a lot of small colleges, our endowment took a big hit with the financial meltdown of some years back. Combined with some questionable budgeting decisions from a prior administration, we were in sufficiently dire straits to get us a warning from our accreditor. While things had been improving over the last couple of years, the accreditor’s deadlines didn’t mesh with our fiscal year and auditing schedules, and that meant that at the expiration of the warning period, we were placed on probation. We were confident that this would be a very short-lived state of affairs, but probation is probation, and it’s a pain to explain to prospective students and their folks, or for that matter, to the typical Joe or Josephine Mondoville. And of course, one always worries.
However, we received an e-mail from the President’s office a couple of hours ago, informing us that the good folks at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) are well pleased with our improvements, and we’re back to fully accredited status until 2022. From our press release, we:
• Achieved a record high 379 incoming students• Achieved record high fundraising total of $4 million raised during FY2014• Reached highest ever level of unrestricted assets (based on FY2014 audited financial statements)• Ended the fiscal year with the highest possible financial condition index score from the U.S. Department of Education• Reduced institutional indebtedness• Favorably renegotiated several major service contracts for substantial savings• Addressed depreciation and deferred maintenance needs• Ended the year with a balanced budget and significant carry-forward
And remember, kids, we did this while holding the line on tuition.
Christmas break just got a little bit easier. And for any of you readers with college-age kids, I know a nice, stable place…