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Univ. of Oklahoma president critical of school’s finances

September 24, 2018

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The University of Oklahoma’s president says he’s still finding inefficiencies and waste in the institution’s finances.

University President James Gallogly told the Tulsa World that he’s concerned about the university’s investments in student housing and residential colleges.

The university’s debt load is more than $1 billion, Gallogly said. The university is also projected to have $14.5 million in operating losses for the current fiscal year, he said. Those figures prompted Gallogly to begin working on the university’s finances shortly after taking office in July.

Low occupancy at new housing facilities is causing the university to lose money and consider rent subsidies, Gallogly said. The university’s two residential colleges have a combined occupancy rate of 63 percent, which will cost the university $2.3 million this year, he said. The colleges would still cost the institution $1 million if they were fully occupied, he said.

The colleges had $80.5 million in bonded debt and were part of the more than $300 million in debt added between June 2015 and June 2016, according to the university’s financial reports.

“With that much bonding, it’s like asking a student to pay rent on a first-class house; they simply can’t afford it,” said Gallogly.

The university’s debt rating is still good, Gallogly said. He declined to disclose an itemized list of more than $12 million in cost savings he’s uncovered so far.

“We’re going to fix the financial issues. We are highly inefficient,” Gallogly said. “The way this university runs, it’s stunning compared to private enterprise.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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