Clark Atlanta University Faces Financial Problems

Clark Atlanta University Faces Financial ProblemsATLANTA
Another of the historically Black schools in the Atlanta University Center is facing financial problems, according to reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.
Clark Atlanta University, one of six schools in the AUC, plans to slash spending by 20 percent, forcing layoffs and possible cuts to academic programs, school officials say.
“We are facing substantial financial challenges,” Clark Atlanta President Walter Broadnax told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month. “The bottom-line truth is that there is a gap that has occurred between our expenditures and revenues.”
In April, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools pulled the accreditation of Clark Atlanta neighbor Morris Brown College, citing major problems with financial aid, record-keeping and institutional effectiveness. Morris Brown College also is the focus of a federal fraud investigation into alleged mismanagement (see Black Issues, Jan. 2).
Broadnax, who took over for retiring president Dr. Thomas Cole in August 2002, said his school’s financial woes have deepened in recent years as funding sources dried up in the down-turned economy. Last year, the university overspent its $100 million budget by $7.5 million.
Unlike Morris Brown, Clark Atlanta has a growing enrollment, no short-term debt and a substantial endowment of about $30 million, which Clark officials say they will not use to pay bills. Most funds in endowments are earmarked for specific uses.
The 5,000-student school remains fully accredited and is not scheduled to undergo the Southern Association’s stringent reaffirmation process until 2006. Representatives will visit Clark Atlanta and examine its financial health and academic programs. The private school must be free of operating debt at that time or face possible sanctions, according to the accrediting agency’s rules.  
—  Associated Press



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