ORU works on balancing act
BY APRIL MARCISZEWSKI World Staff Writer
Saturday, April 26, 2008
4/28/08 at 10:33 AM
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The interim president
is planning for a
balanced budget within
the next three years.
Oral Roberts University, which
until a $70 million gift last fall was
facing a debt crisis, is working to
ward having a balanced budget
within two or three years, Interim
President Ralph Fagin said Friday.
For that to happen, leaders are
looking for ways to increase revenue, such as enticing more people
to donate, receiving larger donations from current donors, enrolling
more students and increasing the
profits of auxiliary services, such as
Mabee Center events, athletic tickets, the campus bookstore and food
Ultimately, "we want to build an
endowment and be strong going forward," Fagin said.
If revenue does not increase, the
university would have to consider
budget cuts. That could include layoffs in two or three years, he said.
"We're not looking at any imminent layoffs at Oral Roberts University," he said.
For now, any positions that come
open will not automatically be filled;
instead, leaders will determine
whether the jobs are needed.
Recently, ORU created a new job
that leaders thought was necessary: a marketing director.
"By spending a few dollars,
you can make a few dollars
more," Fagin said.
Fagin said the university
wants to bring its employees'
pay up to the market rate. To
help meet that goal, the budget that takes effect May 1
will give employees 6 percent
Evan Culp, chairman of
tenured faculty at ORU, said
Fagin told faculty this week
that the college has an opportunity with the $70 million donation from the Green family,
and it needs enrollment in its
programs to grow.
"We have a year or two to
do that," Culp recalled from
the meeting. "If, in fact, in two
years we haven't done that,
we're going to have to look at
other options. To me, that's
just being responsible."
Enrollment for the fall is
only nine students fewer than
ORU had a year ago, but
many students traditionally
wait until later -- some as late
as August -- to enroll, Fagin
said. ORU is planning to use
$3 million of the Green family's donation as financial aid
for new and returning students, and Fagin expects that
to help recruitment and retention.
ORU officials said in January that enrollment had
dropped 84 students since
the fall semester, a typical decrease. Enrollment has
dropped more significantly in
the past five years, board
Chairman Mart Green has
said. He and Fagin admitted
last week that the highly publicized controversy of last fall
-- which culminated in President Richard Roberts resigning -- hurt student recruitment.
Fagin said if enrollment in
particular programs is low in
the future, the university
would consider consolidating
or eliminating majors and departments. The university is
being "more intentional"
about using its existing program-review process.
"You want to put the resources where there's the
most interest, where there's
the most return on value," Fagin said. ". . . We probably
would like to get some more
"We're pretty satisfied with
the array of offerings," which
includes more than 60 undergraduate, 14 master's and two
doctoral programs, he said.
". . . We may alter the assortment of offerings as we learn
As leaders across campus
submit their budgets for the
coming year, top administrators are looking for each division to keep costs under control, he said.
"We are serious about cost
containment and evaluating
our positions, but that's just
good, normal business," he
At the same time, the university is being careful not to
hurt the quality of education.
"We want to have 'mission
with economic sustainability,' " he said, quoting Green.
April Marciszewski 581-8475