Fiscal health of higher education in Arkansas discussed at legislative session

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – State Senator Missy Irvin admitted that Senate Bill 100 was brought up due to past financial issues with Henderson State University.  Although it is still not clear who knew about those hardships and when, SB100 looks to clear that up going forward.

Henderson State University has been absorbed into the Arkansas State University System now and President Dr. Chuck Welch says many of the protocols that are being proposed in SB100, they have already have in place.  “It just helps make sure everybody has a standard for this is what’s important, this is what we need to be looking at as sort of our account balance if you will so that everyone will know where we are,” he said. 

Dr. Welch agrees that governing boards, oversight entities, and even the general public should have access to those numbers regularly, “Hopefully these things that will all as part of a transparency effort will just make sure our governing boards will have access to the information they need to ensure that our institutions are moving along well.”

Along with publishing regular reports on institutional websites, SB100 adds that the amount of student debts, not individual students, and institution cash on hand be added to those reports. 

Dr. Welch says all of the institutions in the state are doing something similar to what is already proposed in SB100 and says there will probably be minimal change for many schools.  He hopes that having more information required on an annual basis will prevent another situation like Henderson State’s from popping up again, “Let’s hope so! That’s the goal, let’s not repeat the errors of the past and hopefully, this will be a step forward so we don’t see these things happen again.”

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