By: The Concord staff
Rumors of the university’s possible debt are floating around campus and the university’s lack of transparency only adds worry to already stressed students.
Students have not been fully informed about this rumor surrounding the school’s financial situation so everyone has been assuming the worst. Gossip like this has ranged from “Bellarmine is closing” to “Bellarmine isn’t in debt yet, but it’s getting close.”
Bellarmine President Dr. Susan M. Donovan said it is not a deficit but a budget “gap.” A deficit is when a budget is created that cannot be met with the current funds held by a business. The continuation or increase of a deficit over time can result in debt.
This “gap” has been created because the university has not been able to meet its projections for funding through student retention and donations. These projections include attendance for both undergraduate and graduate schools.
So how can this situation be helped or fixed? Bellarmine is looking into different options including selling the Glenview mansion, which was the previous home to the late university president Dr. Joseph J. McGowan.
Bellarmine has also increased tuition by 3.6 percent for the 2018-19 school year.
Donovan and the Board of Trustees have also implemented policy changes that will hopefully help close the “gap,” bringing the University back on track.
Faculty and staff raises have been frozen, and contributions to their retirement plans have been decreased for this school year, according to Bellarmine’s Vice President of Finance Robert Zimlich.
Bellarmine’s fiscal diet should help alleviate the “gap” but the university seems to be fasting when it comes to providing information to students. Students need to know about the financial health of the institution. Bellarmine is a private university, so budgets are not public record. But why create all this secrecy about what the financial issues are and allow everyone to assume the worst? It makes us question what else the university is hiding.
Students, along with their families, need to be more aware of the facts about the university’s financial standing because they are paying to attend this school. Students also should know the reasoning behind tuition increases so they better understand what they are paying for every year.