An audit of Cheyney University in Pennsylvania determined the school's financial position has deteriorated since 2009 and pointed to failed collection efforts as a key reason. Bad debt at the historically black university, located in Cheyney, Pa., west of Philadelphia, has increased 348% since 2010, according to the report.
"The situation at Cheyney University should be a warning to the systemic financial issues facing state universities," said Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in a prepared statement upon releasing the findings Wednesday. "Our best and brightest state leaders and stakeholders must work together to develop a long-term plan to ensure the stability of these public universities to provide affordable college education for families across the state. The consequences of inaction are dire."
The audit found total revenues at the university dipped by approximately 12.5%, from $27.8 million to $24.4 million, between 2009 and 2013. The drop was attributed, in part, to declining enrollment and a reduction in state appropriations.
The number of full-time students at Cheyney dropped from 1,471 in 2008-2009 to 1,248 in 2012-2013. Enrollment is projected to fall to 1,053 for the 2014-15 academic year. The universitys deficit stood at $12.3 million at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, an increase of nearly $4.5 million from a year earlier.
Founded in 1837, Cheyney is one of 14-state-owned schools that comprise the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.