Some Colleges Facing Uncertain Financial Future

11:59 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- People at Greensboro College are breathing a collective sigh of relief this week.

On Tuesday, the school was taken off financial probation. While it's good news to anyone who goes to school or works there, it's revealing a bigger problem: money.

Like many other schools, Greensboro College was spending more than it was making. Now, they've figured out a way to turn their future around, and just in time.

"That is a very important move for the college," said College President Lawrence Czarda. "We have worked through a number of challenges, primarily financial, over the past number of years."

A decrease in enrollment and the inability to cover costs put the small liberal arts school in a negative financial situation years ago. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges put them on probation for it.

"It's something a lot of schools are dealing with," said Czarda. A recent study put a third of US universities and colleges in the same boat.

Czarda says fewer Americans were enrolled in higher education last year. "In the state of North Carolina, there are 36 private institutions. Last academic year, 22 had smaller enrollments. It is a trend in the industry."

Many small, private schools are especially feeling the pinch. On Monday, Bennett College announced it's shutting down one of its dorms because of money troubles.

"It is difficult for us to compete simply on price," said Czarda. "We do not receive the state's support so that is one factor that we are simply more expensive because we do not get that support."

To get on the right path, Greensboro College balanced its budget, paid down its debt, and restructured the way it receives money...a plan that just might have saved its future.

Greensboro College turned its financial situation around just in time. If the school couldn't show improvement by Tuesday's meeting, it would've lost its membership with the Southern Association that they've held since 1926. That could've been catastrophic to the school and its future.

Greensboro College received a warning status for two years before they were put on probation in 2011.

WFMY News 2

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