JMU achieves highest level of management autonomy
James Madison University has earned level three autonomy – the highest level of management autonomy for public institutions of higher education in Virginia. The management agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the university was included in HB 2290 and SB 1386, which became law on Thursday.
Under the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005, public institutions of higher education were granted a number of management incentives in exchange for certain performance standards. Under the system, three tiers of autonomy were created. Those who qualify for the highest level of autonomy must meet certain criteria, including an AA- bond rating, and enter into a management agreement with the state.
“Entering into this management agreement with the commonwealth is an important step in the growth of James Madison University as an institution,” JMU President Jonathan Alger said. “Year after year, JMU provides a high-quality education and is among the best values in the commonwealth. Having more flexibility over the management policies of key areas of university operations will continue to allow us to serve our students, their families and the commonwealth in a more efficient manner.”
JMU joins the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University as the only level three institutions in the state. JMU is also the first school to obtain level three autonomy since VCU did so in 2009.
Charlie King, senior vice president of Administration and Finance at JMU, said that the university enjoys a positive reputation of strong financial management in Richmond. “The support that the university has received from the commonwealth throughout this process is a testament to the strong financial position of the institution,” he said. “Being a good steward of the resources provided to the university from students and from the General Assembly is a top priority. This management agreement is a recognition of that and reflects years of sound fiscal management and performance at the highest level.”
JMU’s management agreement with the commonwealth will allow the university to operate more efficiently in the areas of capital projects, real property, information technology, procurement, human resources and financial operations. The agreement is effective July 1, 2019.