ECU declines funding to stay at University Center

After learning last month that East Central University was pulling all of its programs from the University Center of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore due to state budget cuts, UCSO officials said their offer of money to make up the difference was rejected.

(UPDATED: 8/17/17 @ 6:55 p.m.)

After learning last month that E.C.U was pulling all their programs from the University Center of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore due to state budget cuts, the U.C.S.O offered them money they turned down.

"It was surprising, shocking and very disappointing I would say, particularly because we've had such a long partnership. E-C-U has been here since 1974." U.C.S.O President Steven Mills said.

But Pierson says this issue has been on the horizon for a while.

"They have known for approximately a year that it was a possibility we would not be able to continue offering programs at U.C.S.O should additional cuts come, and those cuts came." Pierson said.

It's bad timing for the University Center, which just built a brand new Health, Science and Math Center, with a state-of-the-art nursing lab.

Soon after, Mills and other community leaders met with E.C.U to try and keep them at the table, offering to cover their $227,000 loss over the next couple of years.

But E.C.U declined.

"They didn't give it a chance, and we just wondered why that wouldn't be an option?" Mills said. "Let's just give it a chance to thrive."

But Pierson says that it just wasn't enough money.

"It is the only reason we are not continuing the program," Pierson said. "It's purely financial. Its been operating at a loss, and we can no longer continue to provide for a program that isn't viable."

Which is also why she says they couldn't wait for the new facility.

"We needed to know very soon that we would have funding available for that incoming class," Pierson said. "It's very important that we provide for the student from start to finish."

For now, Mills says they're looking for other schools to take over the nursing program.

"Hopefully it'll be a great, new program, and we'll once again serving the needs of this community." Mills said.

(ORIGINAL:)

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) -- After learning last month that East Central University was pulling all of its programs from the University Center of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore due to state budget cuts, UCSO officials said their offer of money to make up the difference was rejected.

Documents provided by ECU show its programs in Ardmore were operating at a $227,000 loss -- a loss UCSO President Steven Mills says they were prepared to cover.

But during a meeting with community leaders, ECU President Katricia Pierson tells us their offer wasn't sustainable, and despite the new home in Ardmore for their nursing program, they needed to act quickly for their students.

"We needed to know very soon that we would have funding available for that incoming class," Pierson said. "It's very important that we provide for the student from start to finish."



 
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