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

By Paul Fain

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 televangelist, 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. Read more.

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