Financial troubles consume Grambling State

Almost a year after being placed on probation for unacceptable financial statements, Grambling State University officials said they plan to submit an approved audit report Sept. 26 in order to remain accredited.

The historically black university in northern Louisiana was scheduled to turn in an approved audit Monday, along with other documents to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, its accrediting firm, but was granted an extension.

Grambling has not submitted a financial statement since 1997, said Vickie Jackson, director of communications and public affairs. The statement, required by the Atlanta-based association for re-accreditation, was due two years ago.

Grambling’s financial troubles stem as far back as 1993 when, according to an Associated Press article, State Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle would not give his opinion on the university’s financial statements.

A year later, Kyle ruled that the statements were unacceptable and in 1995, Grambling was issued a warning from the association.

In the past nine years, the university has been plagued by a series of financial woes.

A 1996 audit revealed that Grambling lost over $61,000 in computer and air conditioner theft and scholarship awards for incoming freshman, who did not meet the qualifications, the Associated Press reported. The university also has approximately $343,000 in uncollected debt.

The lack of an approved audit since 1997 led the association to place Grambling on probation at its meeting in New Orleans.

Although the financial audit will be the main report under evaluation by the association, Jackson said other factors contributed to the university’s re-accreditation status.

“There is no one particular reason, but several circumstances working adversely that led us to this situation,” she said. “There was a change in the computer operating system and in the process, we lost data. There was (also) instablility in administration.”

Since 1991, Grambling has had six presidents and seven vice presidents of finance since 1993.

Despite the threat that the university could lose accreditation, Jackson said that the likelihood of it is not probable.

“Hopefully, Dan Kyle will render an opinion and at that point, we will submit the financial part of the report,” she said.

After Kyle submits his opinion on the financial status of the university, a committee will review the reports and propose the next step of action to the entire commission in December, said Beth Morrison, an administrative assistant for the association.

The commission has three options. Grambling could continue as an accredited institution while on or off probation, or be removed from membership, Morrison said.

Jackson said faculty, as well as students, are also confident that Grambling will remain accredited.

“We have 4, 462 students this fall, that’s only 38 students short of what we had last fall,” Jackson said. “Students know it’s not as bad as it seems,”

Sue Jones, 19, a sophomore at Grambling agreed.

“I don’t take it (possible loss of accreditation) to heart,” said the biology student from Springfield, Mo. “I have two cousins who graduated from here and based on all the supporters Grambling has, they’re not going to let it close.”

In the event that Grambling might lose accreditation, Jones plans to transfer to University of Houston but said she is looking forward to spending the rest of her undergraduate years at the university.

“Right now, I’m hoping for the best…everyone is just hoping for the best.”