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Published: Sunday, 10/21/2001

Comeback at Central State

Central State University is being rewarded for all the hard work that has gone into repairing its administration, physical plant, and reputation over the past five years. Enrollment is up 24 percent this fall, more proof that Ohio's only historically black public university is making good on its recovery.

Considering where it started from, which is to say, virtually rock bottom, the turnaround is impressive.

Central State, located in Wilberforce, just east of Dayton, was on the verge of collapse in 1996. Its books defied auditing, and there was plenty of evidence that mismanagement and neglect had taken an extreme toll.

The General Assembly demanded remedies and put up $28 million as evidence of its faith that Central State could be salvaged. It was, with budget balanced and accreditation regained. Residence halls that had been condemned were renovated. Enrollment, which had dropped from 2,500 in 1995 to 1,025 in 1998 now stands at 1,400.

And university officials say the gains have been made without lowering academic standards.

All of this is good news for a once-struggling school and for Ohio taxpayers, too.

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