- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Officials for the commission that oversees West Virginia’s four-year colleges have warned that the financial strength of many of the state’s schools appears to be weakening - at least by one indicator.

Staff members of the Higher Education Policy Commission said during a meeting Monday that several schools had less than two months of cash on hand when the fiscal year ended June 30, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported (https://bit.ly/2aqNQv7).

Schools should have no less than two months of cash on hand, but a healthy institution would have upward of six months, said Ed Magee, the commission’s vice chancellor for finance.

Magee said reserves would become crucial if schools have to undergo another mid-year cut to their appropriations, like all state agencies did in 2015. The comments came during a meeting at BridgeValley Community and Technical College, at which the commission reauthorized every school up for review and approved every school’s budget.

“I think the institutions need to have reserves to deal with the circumstances that are happening in higher education regarding the appropriation reductions,” Magee said.

Glenville State College’s cash on hand was the lowest, with a projected 13 days of reserve, as of June 30. Bluefield State College had only 14 days of reserve.

Bluefield State had been anticipating the late-June dip in cash reserves because the school relies heavily on tuition money and has a relatively low number of students during the summer, school spokesman Jim Nelson said.

Representatives from Glenville State were unavailable for comment.

The commission is also concerned about Concord University and West Virginia State University, which projected to the end June with 43 and 28 days of cash on hand, respectively, Magee said.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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