Geneva College has a distinguished reputation for providing high quality, Christ-centered education to traditional undergraduate, adult, and graduate students from all economic backgrounds. The Lord has blessed this endeavor for over 165 years, and we intend to continue this legacy.
Guided by the aim to keep a Geneva education accessible and affordable, Geneva’s Board of Trustees approved a tuition freeze for the 2014-15 academic year and pledged to keep future tuition increases below inflation. This action is part of an intentional strategy of proactive stewardship. Keeping the cost of a Geneva education affordable and remaining financially healthy is essential to our collective mission of preparing students for faithful and fruitful service well into the future.
The commitment to remain affordable and accessible creates budgetary pressure, however. In addition to not raising tuition, Geneva faces budgetary pressures that are common to nearly all small, private colleges in the Northeast and Midwest, such as rising costs for employee benefits and utilities, the nationwide focus on the burdens and dangers of student debt, and a recruiting base of high school graduates that is projected to decline through 2028. For these and other reasons, academic program review—involving faculty and academic leaders—and non-academic review is being done this summer so that Geneva’s leadership and the Board of Trustees can make decisions about how to best use the resources that God has entrusted to us and to lessen the chance that we will be forced into a crisis-response situation in the future.
Through God’s grace, Geneva has managed its financial health well and has been operating in the black during a challenging higher educational environment. This has been the result of good budget control and reduction work done by many people on campus. However, the current pressures have necessitated that we make hard budget decisions in a more compressed time frame in order to maintain this fiscal success while honoring our commitment to keep Geneva affordable and without sacrificing the quality of the education provided.
So what does proactive stewardship entail? This effort includes adjusting the budget and making workforce changes based on the program-review process to ensure that Geneva continues to be fiscally sound while staying affordable and accessible today. Although a few lower-enrollment academic programs may be reduced or phased out through this process, by the very nature of these programs, few students are enrolled so few will be impacted. Current students who are impacted will be able to graduate with their majors and concentrations. We are also looking ahead and planning strategically to gather resources that can eventually be invested in the areas of highest student demand. The goal is to grow existing traditional, graduate, and adult programs, as well as launch future programs to bring even more students to Geneva.
On August 15, the Board of Trustees will review a plan intended to ensure that Geneva will flourish for years to come. After this, we hope to share additional details of Geneva’s fiscal strategy. As we move forward in this process, please keep Geneva and its students, faculty, staff, and leadership in your prayers. And please pray that the Lord’s wisdom will guide us in being faithful stewards of the resources and students that He provides.
Dr. Kenneth A. Smith, President
Pro Christo et Patria