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Independent auditor gives Ferris ‘clean’ report

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University and the Ferris Foundation received "clean" opinions from Plante & Moran during their annual audit, according to the findings presented to the Board of Trustees' Finance Committee on Oct. 19.

Plante & Moran, which performed the audit for the year that ended June 30, 2007, that was accepted by the University, gave the "unqualified" or "clean" opinion which is the highest level of assurance awarded. Even with a $5.1 million reduction in state appropriations due primarily to a deferral in payments, Ferris had a positive bottom line of $7.2 million that factored into the audit's findings. The positive bottom line was a result of increased tuition on level enrollment in addition to $6.6 million in investment income, a return of 7.7 percent. The University also controlled its expenditures which increased just 2 percent from the prior year.

"The University's continued focus on investing in facilities and programs while controlling expenditures has served the University well at a time when the state of Michigan is facing its most difficult times," said Vicki VanDenBerg, an audit partner from Plante & Moran. "We commend the University on their foresight and continued improvements."

The University's conversion to the Banner record-keeping system also was highlighted in the Plante & Moran audit. The new university-wide computer system, which includes data that impacts tuition, room and board, registration, financial aid and billing, was implemented without any significant billing problems or delays. "This is very unusual in a system conversion and is due to the significant efforts made by those involved in the implementation,” VanDenBerg said.

In addition to positive news from the University audit, the Ferris Foundation also received a "clean" audit that was accepted by the Foundation Board of Directors for the year that ended June 30, 2007. According to Plante & Moran, the Ferris Foundation had "an outstanding investment performance year with a return of 19.5 percent, well above the S&P 500. In addition, the Foundation received gifts and contributions of just over $1.2 million and provided support to the University of $1 million primarily in the form of scholarships to students."