Commssion puts OVU on probation

Cites enrollment, budget issues
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 6:50 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - The commission charged with ensuring colleges and universities meet education standards has placed Ohio Valley University on probation.

Of biggest concern in the Higher Education Commission’s report to the university is the decline in students enrollment and retention of current students,, especially in the past tow years. Secondly, is the effect that, and other factors, has had on the school’s financial picture.

President Michael Ross, in office since 2019, says he has spent his 18 months in office working on the school’s finances.

”We’ve not laid anybody off, we’ve not furloughed anyone, we’ve not done anything of that nature. We’ve really controlled what is spent, how it’s spent, and really tried to reel in that, and really manage it as if it’s our own budget at home.”

Ross says OVU was working to address the problems before the commission’s disclosure this week.

“I am confident we will emerge from this much stronger than we have in the past.”

The commission is concerned the current pandemic will affect student enrollment, which OVU says it plans to increase.

Ironically, President Ross says that small enrollment, 233 students this past academic year, positions it to address the social distancing issue. He adds, however, that efforts toward recruitment continue.

“Students aren’t committing as quickly, so we’re working with a number of students, encouraging them to make that decision. We’ve done some things such as a ‘deposit sale’, where we’ve reduced our deposit by 50%.”

OVU’s highly promoted ACE project, aimed at coal conversion, is now separate from the university. The commission noted that, in the near future, there would not be enough money generated from the project to help the school’s financial future.

“If, in fact, something comes from that and it helps OVU, great,” Ross says. “But we are in no way relying on or anticipating anything on that in the near future.”

OVU must submit by October, 2021 a plan detailing how it will address the problems.

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