Wright State could fall short of goal to save $3M this year

Wright State University may be at risk of not meeting its goal of adding $3 million to its reserve funds this year.

The university is on track to add a little more than $1 million to its reserve fund by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, according to a report presented to the board of trustees Friday. But, there’s reason to be optomistic, said John Shipley, WSU associate vice president for finance.

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Shipley estinmates the university could still come close to meeting its $3 million goal, due in part to the fact that it could save around $1 million on scholarships. Fewer scholarships were awarded this year because enrollment was down, which could lead to a potential $1 million in savings on scholarships, Shipley said.

“I’m pretty comfortable that the bottom line will improve even more than what’s on this report…It’s going to be pretty close, but it’s looking positive,” Shipley said.

Wright State is in the midst of recovering from a budget crisis that forced the school to reduce its spending by around $53 million in fiscal year 2018. Wright State spent more money than it brought in from 2012 through 2017, according to school budgets.

Adding to the financial pressures at Wright State is a 20-day faculty strike that ended nearly two weeks ago.

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A deal reached to end the strike should save WSU around $3 million to $4 million a year, president Cheryl Schrader has said. Moody’s Investor’s Service also praised the deal, saying it would eliminate near-term financial and operational risks while offering enough flexibility to improve Wright State’s finances.

But, the strike itself was expected to cost the university in the short term and officials have feared it could impact enrollment.

Tuition is Wright State’s biggest single source of revenue so lower enrollment translates to less money coming in. Tuition and fee revenue is down by more than $2.2 million so far this year, according to financial records provided to the board of trustees.

“The issue is enrollment. We’ll see,” said board chairman Doug Fecher. “Next fall will be a big deal.”


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