Comprehensive Standard 3.10.1

The institution’s recent financial history demonstrates financial stability. (Financial stability)  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative: 

The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) maintains financial stability and provides sufficient financial resources for the performance of the University’s mission.The stability is a result of an integrated strategic planning and budgeting process with annually developed tactics, a collaborative management structure with responsive decision-making, and increased revenues from enrollment-growth and tuition.Audited financial statementsand operating budget reports indicate stable financial resourcesand, at the same time, address declined state funding for operations.

Strategic Planning and Budgeting
The University’s financial decisions to implement revenue-generating strategies and guide allocation of funds for academic and other programs are based on a comprehensive strategic plan (Strategic Plan 2009-2014). The budget development process achieves a balanced budget plan for each fiscal year (Budget Development Process 2010-2011).This plan, combined with a budget management structure, provides the necessary operating controls and implementation decisions to maintain a stable financial position.

Audited Financial Statement
USC Upstate’sindependent audit 2009-2010 was conducted by Elliott Davis, LLC. A separate report on financial statements is provided for the period ending June 30, 2010.  In prior years, USC Upstate financial statements and other information were included in a comprehensive report for all campuses within the USC system (Audited Financial Statement 2006; Audited Financial Statement 2007;Statement of Net Assets 2007– Reclassified; Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Net Assets 2007– Reclassified; Audited Financial Statement June 2008; Statement of Net Assets 2008– Reclassified; Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Net Assets 2008– Reclassified;Audited Financial Statements, June 30, 2009; Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Net Assets 2009 – Reclassified; Audited Financial Statements, June 30, 2010; Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Net Assets 2010).

In the last four years, net assets increased from $39,258,347 in 2006-2007 to $43,663,000 in 2009-2010, an increase of11.2% or $4,404,653 (Summary of Changes in Net Assets from 2007 to 2010, Statement of Net Assets 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).

3.10.1-1 

The primary sourcesfor operating revenues are student tuition and fees with changes in net assets reflecting substantial increases in revenue generated from tuition, fees from enrollment growth, and changes in the rate structure. Operating revenue increased from $37.7 million in 2007-2008 to $46.6 million in 2009-2010, an increase of $8.9 million or23.6% over the three-year period.

3.10.1-2 

Student tuition and fee revenue increases, net of scholarship allowances, provided$4.6 million in operating revenue to meet operating expenses and offset the reduced level of state appropriations (Summary of Revenue, Expenses and Changes in Net Assets from 2007 to 2010).

3.10.1-3 

State appropriations, reported as non-operating revenue, decreased by 31.2% from 2006-2007 to 2009-2010, a loss of $4.7 million.

3.10.1-4 

Operating expenses grew by 18.5%, primarily related to enrollment growth with additional expendituresin instruction, student services and facilities.  Salaries and employee benefitsincreased from $35 million in 2007-2008 to $39.9 in 2009-2010, a 13.8% increase.When the decline in state appropriations continued in 2009-2010, increased expenditures were held to only 1.3% of the prior year. The largest increase of $2.7 million was in operation and maintenance of plant expenses and was directly related to the opening of new campus facilities (Schedule of Operating Expenses by Program and Function for 2007, Schedule of Operating Expenses by Program and Function for 2010, Change in Operating Expenses by Program from 2007 to 2010).

3.10.1-5 

3.10.1-6 

Unrestricted net assets increasedfrom $5.6 million in 2007-2008 to $9.4 million in 2009-2010, an increase of 68% or $3.8 million. This change was primarily the result of a 36.3% increasein student tuition and fees, a 30.4% decrease in state appropriations from $14.6 million to $10.1 million, and a decrease in operation expenses in 2009-2010.Although the state appropriations for operations declined, state grants for student scholarships increased, making tuition and fee payments more affordable for qualifying students with academic-based and need-based aid (Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Unrestricted Net Assets. 2007 to 2010).

Capital assets increased significantly from $33.4 million in 2006-2007 to $73.3 million in 2009-2010, an increase of $39.9 million or 120%. This growth reflectedthe development of new facilities (Change in Capital Assets, Net of Depreciation from 2007 to 2010).

Operating Budget
The operating budget expenses were maintained within available revenue with no unresolved budget deficits. All personnel and other financial obligationswere met in a current manner according to payment policies. There was no borrowing for operations. The general operating budget fund balance, although relatively small, has remained positive and is authorized to be carried forward each year.

Tuition and fee revenue providedan increased percentage of the operating budget, changing from 60% in 2006-2007 to 70% in 2009-2010, while the state appropriations percentage decreased from 27% to 16%.  Managing enrollment growth, strategicallypricing tuition and fees, and controlling spending continue to be effective in addressing the decline in state dollars and provide additional resources for campus development and academic programs (Sources for Operating and Non-Operating Revenues for Unrestricted Net Assets, 2010).

3.10.1-7 

Given the importance of tuition and fee revenue and the impact rate increases could have on enrollment, USC Upstate has maintained for over 10 years an undergraduate full-time tuition rate at or below the average of the other South Carolina public comprehensive universities.  For 2009-2010, tuition for USC Upstate ranked sixth among the 10 universities, about 1% below the average rate (S.C. Comprehensive Universities In-State Undergraduate Fee Rate Comparison, 2001-2011).

Bond Issues, Capacity and Debt Coverage Ratio
Over the past five years, USC Upstate issued two institution bonds totaling $16,885,000 and two revenue bonds totaling $28,920,000 for the construction of academic and housing facilities respectively. The housing revenue bond, Series 2009A, issued March 1, 2009, received a credit rating of AA from Fitch and an Aa3 rating from Moody’s. The institution bond, Series 2009B, issued June 1, 2009, with the full faith and credit of the state, received a credit rating of AAA from Fitch, an AAA from Moody’s, and AA+ from S&P.  The University is current with all debt payments and bond disclosure information.  Currently, the University has $11.5 million in additional bond capacity with a debt coverage ratio of 1.8.  This excess capacity of over $1 million is transferred to a projects reserve fund to be used as needed for capital projects on a direct pay basis.  In addition to the institutional bonds, the CPF Properties II, LLC, an entity created within the USC Upstate Foundation for property development, issued a bond for the construction of the George DeanJohnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics and is funded from private contributions and a University operating lease, fully funded in the University’s budget (Bond Issues by Project and Sources of Funds, June 30, 2010; Bond Capacity, 2010-11).

Bond Issues, Spartanburg County for USC Upstate Land Acquisitions
Spartanburg County issued four bonds totaling $5,582,260 for the acquisition of land.In addition to the land acquisitions, Spartanburg County provided $4 million from a separate bond issue to provide campus road infrastructure as matching funds for a South Carolina Department of Transportation road improvement project in support of USC Upstate.  Of the bonds issued totaling$9,582,260, Spartanburg County has retired 58% leaving a total balance of $4,033,740.  Spartanburg County is current on all indebtedness payments for outstanding bonds (Spartanburg County Bond Issues and Principal Balances for USC Upstate, June 30, 2010).

3.10.1-8 

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800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Toll-free: 800-277-8727
Phone: 864-503-5000
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