• April 23, 2014

Regent U. Gets a Bailout From Founder's TV Network, but Moody's Outlook Remains Negative

Regent University is in dire financial straits, but it received help last week from the Christian Broadcasting Network, according to a report released on Wednesday by Moody's Investors Service.

M.G. (Pat) Robertson, the influential evangelical broadcaster, founded both the network and Regent University, which was originally called CBN University. Both are located in Virginia Beach, Va., and Mr. Robertson is Regent's chancellor and president.

The university's fiscal footing began to slide in 2006, when its bond rating was downgraded because of deficits and weak fund-raising. Regent's money problems have accelerated since then. Annual operating deficits averaged 26 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to Moody's, and its endowment draw was a whopping 11 percent in 2008, more than double the normal payout rate.

While the balance sheet improved last year, thanks to increased tuition revenue from a growing undergraduate enrollment, Regent has a dangerously small amount of cash on hand to pay the bills.

Moody's reports that last year the university had only $1.3-million in liquid assets, which could cover roughly six days of operating costs. But Mr. Robertson's television network came to the rescue on June 24, relaxing restrictions on a $95-million gift it made to the university in 1992. The money had been classified as "permanently restricted net assets," but now Regent will be able to spend it freely, which will improve the university's liquidity crisis.

But the university is hardly out of the woods. The ratings agency remains negative on its outlook, and it affirmed a relatively weak Baa2 bond rating on Regent's debt. And Moody's says an improvement in Regent's rating is unlikely.

"Moody's negative outlook reflects the expectations that the university will continue to experience deficit operating performance, which will continue to deplete or, at least hamper, financial resource growth," the report says.

Carlos Campo, president-elect of Regent, said the Moody's report "clearly reflects the fact that the university has taken aggressive and appropriate steps to create a sustainable budget model for its future."

"While some fiscal challenges remain," he continued, "the outlook for Regent University is quite strong overall." Mr. Campo also said that the university's expected endowment draw for 2010 and 2011 will be closer to 6 percent, and noted that both applications and enrollments are on the rise.

Mr. Campo said that the university had not received a "bailout" from the Christian Broadcasting Network, but rather that the network had merely confirmed that the gift was no longer restricted.

Comments

1. generally_academic - July 01, 2010 at 03:43 pm

Wait a minute, if this is God's University, it is absolutely wrong for any human institution interfere with its fate. It's God's will that His university crash. Human interference is blasphemy, for which the foundation officers will burn in the fires of hell for all eternity. Don't mess with God!

2. acrobat - July 02, 2010 at 03:03 am

Where is the Southern Association in all this. Has this financial crisis just slipped by SA?

If I recall correctly, financial fitness is one of the key accreditation criteria.

Or has Pat Robertson simply resolved all these sticky little issues at a higher level???


3. nicklau - July 02, 2010 at 08:21 pm

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4. tee_bee - July 07, 2010 at 01:25 am

Higher education would be well served by the demise of this "University." It teaches strict values, like lying about firing federal attorneys and about strict obedience to regimes that seek to undermine the constitution. If I were among the praying classes, I would most fervently pray for the swift demise of this institution.

5. commonsense2010 - July 09, 2010 at 05:05 pm

This comment is about the ignorant and prejudice comments below. It amazes me that an entire faith is judged by a few examples. If the same statements were made about a certain race, it would be called racism. If the same statements were made about a certain age group, it would be called ageism. So why is this different? Because it seems that bashing others beliefs is now in vogue. The anonymous nature of the virtual world has allowed anyone to post anything without any regard to the truth, decorum, or sensibility. It is so sad that, as a society, we've been able to move on from enslaving blacks, beating women, and bashing gays to now persecuting the faithful. Did a society of bullies just need some other group to pick on?

Concerning the ignorance of the comments, the God of Christians, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims alike allows for the free will of man and works with these to accomplish His overarching will in His own providence. God uses "human" institions, such as healthcare facilities, schools, police and fire stations, grocery stores, businesses from Wall St. to Rodeo Drive, and the men and women who work in the boardrooms, and the men and women who struggle on the battlefields. Even atheists, who are fighting to eradicate the presence of God in every way they can, are being used to motivate and raise up an army for His sake.

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