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President Nielson Addresses Covenant's Stand in Challenging Economic Times



In our ongoing effort to keep the Covenant community well-informed and up-to-date, I recently sent this letter to parents of current students regarding current economic conditions and how we at the College are responding. As you can tell, we are taking many steps large and small to ensure that we can continue to provide our students with a first-rate and excellent-value education. I trust that you will continue to pray for Covenant, as well as our families, as we seek to act with wisdom and care for the sake of raising up the next generations of thoughtful, Word-centered, and Christ-honoring graduates.

 


 

April 17, 2009

 

Dear Covenant Parents,

 

As we approach the end of this academic year, I want to give you an update on where Covenant College stands in these challenging economic times.

 

With the continuing uncertainty in the global economy, many families and organizations are struggling financially. As I wrote in my last letter to you, institutions of higher education are not immune to economic volatility. It has become increasingly clear this year that higher education institutions cannot rely on standard fiscal assumptions in our present economy. In recent months, Covenant's endowment has dropped 39%--a substantial amount, though not as great a loss as many colleges similar to Covenant have experienced. Tuition and fees provide just over half of the College's annual revenue. Gifts comprise 22% of revenue, and we are grateful for our partners, who are generous and faithful even during difficult times such as these.

 

From conversations with many parents, we know the sacrifices you are making to ensure that your child receives a Covenant College education. I want you to know that we are doing everything we can to attend to the needs and interests of families like yours as we partner to provide a quality education for your student.

 

The College's Board of Trustees in March unanimously approved a budget for the 2009-2010 year. I would like to share with you several key components.

 

1. Tuition for the 2009-2010 year is $24,520 (an increase of 3.9%).

 

2. The College will not reduce funds reserved for financial aid for deserving students.

 

3. There will be no raises for any faculty or staff, except those minimal raises (less than 1% of salary) mandated by contract.

 

4. All senior administrators have voluntarily taken a 5% reduction in compensation.

 

5. The College will contribute the same amount to employee health care coverage in 2010 as it is in 2009. Any increase in premiums will be borne by employees.

 

6. As of this month, the College has ceased making matching contributions to employees' 403(b) retirement accounts.

 

7. Our chief financial officer continues to monitor every College expense. As has been the case since early in this academic year, employees must obtain approval from the CFO before incurring any expense, regardless of the amount.

 

We are committed, as we have been for 55 years, to providing a first-rate, Christ-centered education to our students and to serving our students and their families as best we can. It is a privilege for me, our faculty, and our staff to develop relationships with our students, to teach them in a host of disciplines, to mentor them, and, together, to explore and express the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things. We delight in our mission of offering the world biblically grounded men and women equipped to live out extraordinary callings in ordinary places. I invite you to join us in praying that God would continue to use Covenant College to serve Christ's Kingdom for generations to come.

 

Thank you for entrusting us with the education of your child.

 

In the grace and service of Jesus Christ,

 

Niel Nielson

President