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President Nielson Addresses the Economy

A few days after Christmas I sent the following letter to Covenant College parents to let them know my perspective on the College's current condition in this challenging economic environment. Subsequent days have brought further reason for thanksgiving as our spring semester enrollment is right on our budgeted expectations.

At the same time, we realize that the future is very uncertain, and many colleges and universities are anticipating severe financial struggles for the foreseeable future. We are grateful for the prayers and partnership of so many as we strive to continue to provide our students with a first-rate, biblically faithful, and Christ-honoring education.



Dear parents,


I trust that you and your family had a blessed Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that you are enjoying the days between semesters while your child is home. Kathleen and I are enjoying a few days of rest after a busy but delightful December, during which our two oldest sons, Jon and Dan, each married. It is such a blessing to spend time with family and friends, to welcome new daughters-in-law, and together to give thanks to our God for his unyielding faithfulness to us.


We live in uncertain times. In recent months, the stock market has declined sharply, many organizations are facing tough decisions about cut-backs or bankruptcy, and, likewise, many employees remain unsure about their own employment future. Institutions of higher education are not immune to economic volatility. From Ivy League schools such as Harvard to state schools like the University of Tennessee, colleges and universities across the country have been hit with shrinking endowments and reduced funding. Some have responded by implementing hiring and spending freezes; others have cut programs and faculty and staff positions.


While Covenant's endowment has taken a hit, we have not experienced the debilitating losses that many schools are confronting. Several months ago, we preemptively implemented strong, decisive, and thorough cost-cutting measures in order to focus resources strategically on our core student programs and services, which we expect to remain relatively unaffected by the economic climate. In fact, student opportunities at Covenant continue to grow this year, with the opening of a digital art lab in the fall and the founding of the Debate Society, whose members will begin traveling and competing with other colleges this spring. Giving to the College remains strong, and we are grateful for loyal and generous donors.


We have spoken with many parents over the past few months and know the sacrifices being made to ensure your children receive a Covenant education. We are committed to maintaining current levels of scholarship support and to assisting you and your family as you provide for your child's education. We pray for you daily.


I want to assure you that Covenant College continues today with zeal and prayerfulness to advance its founding mission of equipping students with a first-rate education so that they might explore and express the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things. It is a tremendous joy to be a part of the unique and vital enterprise that is Covenant College, to walk alongside our students for their years at Covenant, and to hear from alumni of the good work they are doing in all corners of society around the globe. Thank you for your partnership in this mission. May God enable us, in good times and difficult times, to continue to raise up generations of followers of Jesus Christ who know the truth and obey God's Word, no matter what the circumstances or the cost.


In the grace and service of Jesus Christ,

Niel Nielson