ORANGEBURG — It will take years to clear up the finances at South Carolina State University, an auditor hired for the school said.
Stathis Poulos of the BDO audit firm said the school needs to do better long-term forecasting, particularly looking beyond the coming year. .
“This took years to get to the point where the university’s at now, and it’s going to take years to get back to health,” he said.
On Thursday, Poulos presented the school’s trustees a report on an audit draft report.
He also told the trustees the university relies too much on nonoperating income.
He said for the last five years, the university’s operating revenues have been significantly less than the operating expenses. Figures for the last school year show S.C. State had operating income of $91 million and operating expenses of $118 million.
He said the school depends too much on state appropriations and federal grants. He said tuition and auxiliary revenues should cover operating expenses such as salaries and utilities.
Interim President Cynthia Warrick said the school plans to evaluate the overall structure of the university and all academic programs. The school also plans to increase enrollment, retention, fundraising and grant development.
Poulos also told trustees the audit firm has found no indication of fraud.
Vice President for Finance Eric Eaton told trustees that a projected operating deficit of more than $5 million has been reduced to $400,000.