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Recommendations Provided to Central State University
Columbus – A larger oversight role by the board of trustees and collecting on significant past-due accounts will go a long way in addressing Central State University’s fiscal watch status, according to a report released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Now is the time for Central State to get its fiscal house in order, and an active board of trustees must start the process,” Auditor Yost said. “Strong leadership can ensure accounts are brought up-to-date and polices are in place to maintain balanced budgets.”
According to Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 126:3-1-01(D)(1)(b), after a declaration of fiscal watch by the Ohio Board of Regents, the Auditor of State is required to issue a report outlining the nature of the financial accounting and reporting problems of the college, as well as recommendations for corrective actions.
The Auditor of State’s Local Government Services Section analyzed the following areas:
- Budgetary Process
- Revenue Activity
- Purchasing Process, Bidding and Cash Disbursements
- Payroll Processing
- Debt Administration
- Cash Management and Investing
- Financial Reporting
- Forecasting and Planning
- Modifying the budget policies and procedures to contain specific steps to maintain a balanced budget;
- Approving a cash reserves policy for the university’s unrestricted cash balance;
- Reviewing, updating and obtaining board approval of policies on budget modifications and transfers;
- Ensuring daily receipts are accounted for and are posted completely and accurately;
- Ensuring wire transfers are receipted and reviewed promptly;
- Following the university’s policy on withdrawing students with past-due balances, and if that is not feasible, revising the policy;
- Developing and implementing a policy regarding the timeline and criteria upon which student accounts are reviewed;
• Timely and thorough review and collection of past-due accounts could reduce the amount of tuition revenue lost by the university.
- Monitoring when debt payments are due and remit payment by the specified due date in order to avoid any penalties or interest that may be assessed;
- Establishing a process by which the board of trustees or committee will undertake monthly reviews of revenues, expenditures and encumbrances consistent with the financial recovery plan;
- Establishing a process by which the university approves and monitors the monthly levels of expenditures and encumbrances, and requiring supporting documentation to substantiate any departure from any approved level;
- Establishing a comprehensive forecasting and planning policy and integrating a rolling financial forecasting component with each of their planning documents; and
- Using long-term forecasting to assist in the negotiations process with employee unions.
Central State University was placed in fiscal watch by the Ohio Board of Regents on April 21, 2015. A college is placed in fiscal watch if it receives a composite score of 1.75 or less in the Board of Regent’s financial ratio analysis required by Senate Bill 6 (122nd General Assembly). In 2013, Central State University received a composite score of 1.30 and a score of 1.0 in 2014. The Board of Trustees approved a recovery plan on June 11, 2015, and it was submitted to the Board of Regents on June 18, 2015.
A full copy of this financial accounting report may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.