Latest audit of Shorter shows $3 million drop in tuition (nearly 10%), a $5.2 million cut in academic operations expenses and $1.9 million less in overall salaries.

Latest audit of Shorter shows $3 million drop in tuition (nearly 10%), a $5.2 million cut in academic operations expenses and $1.9 million less in overall salaries.

Image from Shorter University.

The Georgia Baptist Convention has posted the 2016 and 2015 financial audit of Shorter University and the year-over-year changes underscore the financial issues you’ve heard about on and off campus. (Click for the full report; breakouts below).

One of the key areas to track is revenues and support. Tuition and fees dropped from $33.5 million as of May 31, 2015, to $30.5 million a year later, a $3 million slide. Financial assistance helped ease the decline to roughly $2.8 million.

Substantial cuts continued across the university and they’re evident especially in academic operating expenses. The audit shows:

Instructional expenses were $10.1 million in the latest financial statement, down $1.7 million from the previous year.

Academic services also dropped by $1 million, from $3.6 million to $2.6 million.

Student services saw a $1.1 million fall, from $7.92 million to $6.86 million.

Institutional support dropped from $9.4 million to $8.76 million year over year.

Overall, operating expenses dropped from $37.5 million to $32.3 million or by $5.2 million.

And even with those cuts, the “change in net assets from operational activities” was negative $3.88 million vs. negative $6.5 million a year earlier.

While the change in net assets for the year ended May 31, 2015, was negative $6.27 million, the figure from this past May 31 was negative $114,131.

Some other changes of note:

Salaries and benefits dropped from $16.2 million for the year ending May 2015 to $14.3 million this past May or $1.9 million.

Overall operating expenses that had been $27.5 million through May 31, 2015, dropped to $23.1 million.

Some of the narrative by the auditors shows:

Post-retirement benefits dropped from $443,122 to $263,260 as the “university suspended its matching program.” Previously, Shorter matched the 5 percent of an employee’s contribution.

The university  plans to reduce its lease obligations now through 2021. The 2017 amount is $2.1 million, sliding to $1.16 million in 2021 — and $403,566 a year after that.  The lease area includes costs for satellite campuses, office equipment and vehicles.

We emailed Dr. Dawn Tolbert of the university’s marketing department for a written comment regarding the audit and received no reply as of this morning, 18 hours later. Past responses have been returned, stating a meeting with President Don Dowless was required. In the best interests of both sides, we require a written response. 

 

Year ended May 31, 2015

 

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