UCA Continues to Build Reserves

The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees discussed the university’s future growth, critical maintenance needs, and its budget during a retreat Friday.

UCA President Tom Courtway told the board the university has made significant progress over the last fiscal year. The university had $12 million in unrestricted cash on July 31 compared with $5.4 million the same time last year. The increase in unrestricted cash position was due to savings in salaries, maintenance and operations and scholarship savings. The university’s goal for unallocated cash reserves is $15 million.

Officials were able to make $7.3 million in “planned transfers,” which includes a holding account with $1.7 million in the event the board decides to approve a bonus for faculty and staff, Courtway said. The remaining planned transfers would be used for maintenance, major equipment and other capital needs. The transfers do not impact the $12 million, he said.

Bobby Reynolds, chair of the Board of Trustees, commended the campus community.

“To come from where we were has been pretty phenomenal,” he said.

Dr. Robert Parrent, vice president of enrollment management, reported that first-time entering freshmen enrollment is estimated at more than 2,000.

UCA officials planned for a flat overall enrollment. Courtway said several factors play a role in overall enrollment including retention as well as the number of graduate and international students.

Trustees heard several presentations including the campus master plan, capital projects, and an update on the Greek Village project.

Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, gave a presentation on issues in Arkansas higher education. Higher education institutions have seen flat revenues from the state. Fortunately, he said, higher education has not experienced drastic cuts like higher education institutions in other states.

It would take $300 million to fully fund the state’s higher education formula. The state is trying to get institutions under 75 percent of need up to 75 percent, Broadway said. UCA is currently at 71 percent. Beginning the fall of 2013, the funding formula will take into account retention and graduation rates.

During a special called meeting on Friday, trustees approved a resolution to authorize the administration to enter into a real estate contract or agreement with Metropolitan National Bank for the purchase of an eight-unit condominium project on Western Avenue. The property is located in the university’s “core” growth area. The resolution states that the total aggregate purchase price for the project shall not exceed $770,000 along with closing costs.

Trustees also approved a resolution modifying the terms of an easement previously granted to the City of Conway for the construction of a sewer line. The modification would make construction of the sewer line easier and would save several oak trees. Moving the line would not impact any operations at the University.