Financial deficit forces changes on campus

BY JOSH DELP

As a response to the nationwide financial crisis, the college has formed a teaching faculty task force to review and streamline the academic programs for the fall of 2011.  This committee will be processing information from all the departments along with non-classroom expenses in order to maintain Goshen’s standards while operating more efficiently.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Anita Stalter said, “We anticipate this process will result in a likely reduction in teaching faculty positions.”

Last May, 29 positions were eliminated in anticipation of the current school year which saved $1.1 million.  Most affected positions were in the administrative offices.  In addition, all salaries were frozen and the President’s Council took voluntary pay reductions.

Vice President for Finance Jim Histand said that financial cuts among institutions of higher education is a national struggle. According to global consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide, 72 percent of organizations had to layoff employees in 2009.  This figure includes colleges and universities. Goshen College has maintained that the job cuts were not related to job performance but rather to the restructuring of the organization to more efficiently meet students needs.

Despite the above average enrollment for the class of 2013, on the whole, admission is down and the value of Goshen’s endowment dipped from $125 million in 2008 to $85.4 million in 2009.  In addition, state and national governments have cut back aid to colleges and universities.

Goshen College has dealt with the financial struggle in part by increasing the amount of financial aid budgeted for 2010-11 to $8.4 million, a $1.5 million increase over two years.

Histand said, “(We are) committed to ensuring that Goshen College remains affordable for our students.”

The college is specifically looking for ways to adjust personnel without affecting students, said Histand.  Therefore, student resources like Residence-Life will be minimally affected.  The most obvious change this semester will be the reduced library hours and several new prairies will be planted where there were once mowed fields.

Amidst the current tough financial decisions and cutbacks, alumni and outside donors have given the highest donation to the general operating budget in 17 years.  However, these kinds of donations alone will not solve all of GC’s financial difficulties. Personal contributions pay just one role in many contributing funds to Goshen College’s operating budget.

Zachary Clouse, a third year, added, “As long as the pool’s up and running, I’m not too worried.”

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