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ECU releases state's financial assessment of the university

(WITN)
Published: Aug. 1, 2019 at 9:11 PM EDT
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East Carolina University says it's expecting to welcome its largest freshman class as it continues to address budget concerns.

The university released a UNC System Financial Operations Assessment during a Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.

The 34 page report was done when former ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton stepped down in May.

It examines the University's budgeting for the ECU Physicians medical group, the university athletics program, and the Southside renovation of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The assessment found ECU doesn't have consistent rules for spending in those areas and there are ways to change methods to improve fiscal responsibility.

The report comes nearly two months after ECU Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach announced the University would be reducing a portion of its budget, which includes a hiring freeze. The University included those as steps taken to address budgeting concerns in its response to the financial assessment.

The administration is also recommending other changes such as not authorizing any new debt. Gerlach says the university's budget is balanced through 2020. He says now the university must wait and see if the millions of dollars put towards athletics in recent years will help generate revenue.

"We're gonna make some investments and we're going to expect that they're going to have some results and if they don't have the results, then we're gonna make some changes," said Gerlach.

The financial assessment notes that athletics at the university has had periods of deficits and surpluses in the past, depending on the team's success. It also notes that the athletic department believes its revenue will start to trend upward by 2022.

ECU also announced Thursday that it expects the 2019 freshman class to have about 4,400 students, which would be its third-largest class ever.