President's Response

Central State University President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond’s Statement on the University being placed on Fiscal Watch

Central State University is aggressively working to improve the University’s financial balance as we recruit and retain more college-ready Ohio students. Over the past two years (FY 2013 & FY 2014), independent, external audits have confirmed sound accounting practices.  Those audits contained “no qualifications,” which indicate that this institution is fiscally sound and implements quality standards of its fiscal operations.

The major contributor to the decrease in Central State’s Senate Bill 6 composite score is the decline in student enrollment, which is evident at many colleges across the nation. Although the University receives on average 5,500 applications a year, many of these high potential students are plagued by their limited ability to meet the parental/family contributions required by the Federal Pell Grant Program. Changes to the Federal Pell Grant Program and also the Parent Plus Loan have negatively impacted college affordability for first-generation college students.  Tuition and fees represent 46 percent of the University’s revenue streams annually; thus, there is a direct correlation between student enrollment and retention and university revenue

A recent article by the Department of Education (April 22, 2015),”Changes in Financial Aid and Student Enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities after the Tightening of PLUS Credit Standards,” results indicate that PLUS loans declined substantially at HBCUs in 2012/13, and the decreases were not fully replaced by other types of federal financial aid. HBCUs also experienced larger declines in enrollment than other institutions in 2012/13, corresponding to the larger decline in PLUS recipients at HBCUs. Also, enrollment declines at HBCUs were especially large for first-year students. Nationwide enrollment decreased more for Black students than for students in other groups.

Central State University has made significant commitments to support Ohio students and has made substantial changes in operations in order to meet the needs of Ohio families who value the obtainment of a college degree.  Some of the measures that have been implemented in order to bring into balance operational efficiency, support students and maintain fiscal stability include:

  • 21% reduction ($10.3 million) in operating expenses over the last two years;
  • 24% reduction in workforce;
  • In 2014, completion of a campus-wide energy conservation initiative, resulting in reductions of $1M in utility spending annually;
  • Early recruitment of students who can be matched more efficiently with financial support options that will sustain their retention and college completion.
  • Implementation of required financial literacy curriculum during the first year and subsequent financial literacy modules for continuing students.
  • More robust engagement with alums, philanthropic foundations and corporations, in support of a Capital Campaign

Keeping with our mission and commitment to Ohio families, Central State University will continue to be a vital and important source for the preparation of students for a growing Ohio economy.  Trend enrollment indicators are positive and the strategies implemented are beginning to show great promise.  We have been working collaboratively with state offices to establish a sustainable plan that will yield more stable and reliable outcomes.

The Governor,  state legislators, the Ohio Board of Regents and the Office of Budget Management have been extremely supportive of our efforts and continue to value Central State University as a ‘value-added” institution of higher education.

Ohio Senator Chris Widener, President pro Tempore of the Ohio Senate, serving the 10th Senate District, which includes Madison, Clark and Greene counties: “I believe Central State’s Board of Trustees and President Hammond have turned the corner on restoring the future of the University. They have worked collaboratively with the State and other Universities to reduce costs and admit college-ready students that will grow the University’s capability to produce much-needed job seekers for Ohio’s future job opportunities. The state legislature named CSU our state’s second land-grant university due to the role CSU plays in serving Ohioans’ needs that often go unmet at other institutions.”

Minority Whip, Representative Kevin L. Boyce, serving the 25th Ohio House District: "President Jackson-Hammond and the Board of Trustees recognized the importance of securing the future institutional sustainability of Central State. Their decision in implementing an aggressive approach places the University on the right course toward financial stability. The new designation of land-grant status coupled with University efforts to outsource, explore shared services with local municipalities and other institutions will expectantly reduce costs and expand opportunities to the student population and faculty. I am confident as the University strengthens its long-term collaboration with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Central State University will maintain financial stability and continue to provide a high quality education."