Burlington College used restricted scholarship money for operating costs


The administration of Burlington College used $50,000 from a scholarship fund to pay for daily operating costs, according to documents obtained by VTDigger.

The tiny liberal arts college is financially strapped and the administration used scholarship money from the estate of G. Jason Conway to cover expenses, according to financial statements and people who managed his estate.

Burlington College is struggling to pay back a $10 million loan to buy 351 North Ave. from the Catholic diocese.

Recently released audit reports of the college's finances show that the school "borrowed" $50,000 of the $70,000 Conway scholarship.

The 2013 audit, the most recent financial data available for the school, shows the money has not been repaid.

G. Jason Conway and his wife Marcia Vance were longtime faculty at Burlington College. Vance helped to found the Vermont Institute for Community Involvement, which became Burlington College, then worked as a director of student services and then as director of financial aid, according to the college's website.

Conway graduated from Burlington College and served as the admissions director. He also taught at the school for more than 30 years.

The $70,000 scholarship fund was to be put in a trust in perpetuity where it would earn interest.

The 2012 audit shows that $166,500 in endowed scholarship funds were used to cover operating expenses at the college, including the money donated by Conway.

The 2012 audit says a donor "changed the terms of their ($70,000) donation from temporarily restricted to permanently restricted student aid." Then-chief financial officer Bill Breen said the audit is referring to the Conway scholarship.

However, Conway died in 2010, before the 2012 audit was complete.

Burlington College has around 200 students and about a $5 million annual budget.


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