The Board of Trustees honored two students, raised faculty insurance premiums and reported positive financial status in their second meeting of the academic year. 

Diane Newton, chief financial officer and vice president of Finance and Administration, reported “comforting” numbers in regard to UCA’s current cash report, which showed a decrease in unrestricted cash.

Unrestricted cash goes into the operating budget and generally spikes around the beginning of each semester.

“The numbers are consistent. The decline in enrollment has affected [money garnered from] tuition and fees,” Newton said. 

“A lot of our current funding will not show up yet because it is coming from HERF. This year is not like other years, but we are tracking right along,” Newton said.

HERF (higher education relief fund) is part of the CARES Act signed into law by former President Trump in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are still being allocated. 

Newton noted that more money may be given to the University around the latter part of June, which would then roll to the funds’ balance. 

“We are doing well,” Newton said. “Enrollment is not coming up. We are trying to reevaluate our spending.”

University money has already been moved around to compensate for low enrollment numbers. MNO (Maintenance and Operations) money took a large hit. Newton claims that less money is being put into this category of the budget.

Amy Denton, a member of the board, presented a vote to increase insurance premiums for the faculty’s health insurance program. 

“It is a 4.9% increase and is based on all claims data. Nationally premiums are increasing by 7-7.5%. 4.9 is very good in this environment with COVID,” Denton said.

The board passed the motion unanimously. A total of 51,700 will be saved under the new program and Denton reports an increase in coverage for employees. 

President Houston Davis honored two recipients of the Bear CLAWS Award. CLAWS stands for “celebrating the lofty achievements of our wonderful students.”

Sophomore Daisy Martinez was honored for winning a $5,000 scholarship from Blue Cross and Blue Shield for her work as an intern in summer 2021. Martinez was awarded the Blue365 scholarship for her work on projects and a presentation she gave to executives at the company.

Additionally, graduate student Grant Williams was honored for his work in Green Bear Coalition and overall academic achievements as he continues his work for a Master’s in Biology. 

During his undergraduate years at UCA, Williams was the captain of the track team.

Davis called his masters bid a “victory lap.”

Several contracts were reviewed and renewed by the board. A contract with Nabholz Construction was unanimously renewed. A contract regarding UCA Downtown, a branch of UCA in Downtown Conway was renewed as well, its second renewal since 2015.

Brad Teague, the athletic director, reported a positive showing for “Night on the stripes” fundraiser. This fundraiser took place on the football field in Estes Stadium October 7, 2021. 

“We had great attendance,” Teague said. “It was a great night.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Dec. 3.

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