Audit-finance committee report 12-6-18

The Illinois Valley Community College board’s audit-finance committee learned Thursday the college had received another “clean” audit of its financial statements.

After reviewing IVCC’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending June 30, Wipfli LLP auditors Sara McKenna and Matthew Schueler noted IVCC earned an unmodified report with no weaknesses or deficiencies.

“The auditors confirmed IVCC is debt-free, a statement few community colleges can make. Our board and staff should be commended for reducing operating expenses $469,000, especially by reducing our utility costs, much of which can be attributed to the replacement of chiller and air-handler units in three buildings,” IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said. “Through prudent fiscal management, revenues exceeded expenses.”

With the college on sound financial footing, only a slight tuition increase is expected for the 2019-20 academic year beginning this summer, said Vice President for Business Services and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema.

“Once the political landscape for higher education becomes clear, we will likely be recommending a low tuition increase next year to ensure our tradition of affordability without compromising quality,” Roelfsema said.  

With retiree costs shifting from the state to local districts, Roelfsema said for the first time community colleges are required to show their College Insurance Plan (CIP) liability on their financial statements. CIP is the state insurance plan for retirees.

IVCC’s liability is nearly $12 million but Corcoran said, “Comparatively speaking, we are well-prepared to handle that amount.”

In other business, audit-finance learned tuition waivers may be granted to district high school students enrolled in dual-credit automotive and agriculture courses next fall.

To qualify for a waiver, students must enroll in the agriculture or automotive technology Associate in Applied Science degree programs within one year of high school graduation, said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Bonnie Campbell.

IVCC is partnering with Starved Rock Associates for Vocational and Technical Education (SRAVTE) on the initiative.

The committee also reviewed the 2017-18 annual report for dual credit courses. Headcount was 1,004, down slightly from 2016-17 (1,056). However, credit hours were at 6,090, up from 6,070 in 2016-17. A total of 122 students received tuition waivers in 2018 compared to 112 in 2017.

Audit-finance also looked at the IT Security Audit prepared by Rehmann Robson early last summer that included a vulnerability assessment and penetration testing on the college’s external connections, hosts and network devices, as well as an internal assessment.

Rehmann recommended replacement of network servers and workstations that contained dated software, a finding “not unusual in an environment such as ours,” said IVCC IT Director Chris Dunlap.

“IT has already addressed several of the issues identified in the audit and will continue to do so until all identified risks have been mitigated. Several of the servers have already been replaced, upgraded or retired from service,” said Dunlap.

“The effort to secure IVCC’s data and computing resources is never ending, and we plan to include external penetration testing in the budget each year and internal testing every three years to continue to protect our computing environment.”

The full board meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.