NAU financial woes lead to cutbacks

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A local university is running into some financial trouble, reducing staff and halting new student enrollment to multiple programs.

What effect will that have on the area?

National American University was founded in 1941, but for the last few years they've experienced some financial hardships.

A report from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says NAU's revenue declined from $95 million in fiscal year 2016 to nearly $75 million in fiscal year 2018.

That's a drop of nearly $20 million dollars in only two years.

Because of this, NAU is reducing staff and suspending new student enrollment in 34 of its 138 programs.

Naneth Kallio, 2017 NAU graduate, says, "It's kind of surprising because in my time while I was at NAU, they had a lot of programs offered."

NAU is also seeing less students.

The SE report says university enrollment declined from about 8,000 students in May 2016 to about 5,600 students in May 2018.

Naneth Kallio recently earned her master's degree in management with an emphasis in healthcare administration from the school.

Naneth Kallio says, "The tuition is totally low compared to other schools so it would probably hold off with my schooling if I did not get that program."

And Kallio says her education at NAU has been valuable to her career advancement.

Naneth Kallio says, "As soon as I finished my school, I walked in June 2018 and my employer promoted me to Director of Operation at Interim HealthCare in the Black Hills."

In a statement, the NAU Board said, "We believe the decline in student enrollment and revenue is the result of regulatory scrutiny of the industry and the current economic environment."

NAU says they are currently not disclosing which programs will be cut or how many employees would lose jobs.

The university declined an on-camera interview with us on the matter.