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ASU Board Formalizes Accounts Receivable, Bad Debt Policy 


Windgate Center rendering
This architect's rendering shows the Windgate Center for Three-Dimensional Arts, the name approved Friday by the Board of Trustees.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees today approved a new policy regarding student accounts to protect the financial health of its institutions.

The policy issues guidance for evaluating and accounting for the uncollectible portion of student accounts receivable, including writing off uncollectible receivables and calculating an uncollectible receivable estimate. It also establishes consistency for all campuses in reporting the total student accounts receivable, allowance for doubtful accounts, and bad debt expenses to ensure the effective administration of accounts receivable.

“This is a pro-active financial measure and not the result of any issue with our current member institutions,” ASU System President Chuck Welch said. “The policy formalizes what we already do and ensures transparency. Consistent reporting, collections and write-off practices contribute to a clearer picture regarding our cash flow expectations and problem accounts.”

A student account becomes past due if payment if not received by the payment due date, and each campus is responsible for establishing written, lawful collection procedures.

The new policy also requires the ASU System to report annually to the Board of Trustees the following information for each institution: total accounts receivable, total student accounts receivable, allowance for doubtful accounts, net student accounts receivable, total amount of write-offs, bad debt expense, and student accounts aging report.

In his report to the board, Welch praised system campuses for their continued extraordinary efforts to operate safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our students, faculty and staff overall have followed safety guidelines and worked hard to help control case numbers,” Welch said. “We can’t let our guard down. I’m proud of everyone’s cooperation and patience during these difficult times. We remain prepared to make adjustments as needed.”

Welch also noted that fall enrollment for ASU System institutions was mixed as expected because of multiple COVID-19 factors, but total 11th-day enrollment without concurrent high school students was down only 4.2 percent compared with a budgeted decline of 5 percent. Arkansas State’s headcount fell slightly from 13,175 to 13,112, or 0.5 percent. Enrollment at the five two-year institutions was 11.5 percent lower, Welch said, but the decline should be less once concurrent student totals are finalized.

In other business, the Board of Trustees approved resolutions for Arkansas State authorizing the naming of the Windgate Center for Three-Dimensional Arts and the Rea Charitable Trust Student Studio in the Windgate Center. Construction is under way on the $7 million, 21,900-square-foot center, with completion estimated in April 2021. The Windgate Foundation provided a $6.7 million grant, and the Rea Charitable Trust contributed $30,000 toward the studio.

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