Until now, Bryan College has been somewhat insulated from financial challenges confronting many sectors of the national economy, but events have combined to require strong action by the college to ensure the strength of the institution.
On Monday, January 14, President Stephen Livesay announced that reduced enrollment in the School of Arts and Sciences (the traditional undergraduate program) has led to a budget shortfall which must be addressed immediately. “As a college, we are tuition-dependent; the majority of our operating funds comes from student tuition,” he said.
“After the budget was created in May and approved by the board of trustees, we experienced quite a significant meltdown in July and August in numbers of both returning students and new students who had made enrollment deposits. Most of those decisions were the result of financial issues those students encountered.”
As the spring semester begins, enrollment is approximately 50 students below budgeted projections.
“In looking at our response, three priorities guided our thinking,” Dr. Livesay said. “First, we would not touch anything essential to the mission of the college. Second, we want to ensure the least impact on students. And third, we want to demonstrate fiscal responsibility.”
To this end, the administration has approved both short-term and long-term steps, to be implemented immediately.
Short-term steps – meaning to be effective through June 30, the end of the 2012-13 academic year – include:
- Dr. Livesay is voluntarily taking a 50 percent cut in his salary
- Employees earning the top 10 salaries will take a 5 percent pay cut
- The college will suspend its contributions to employee retirement plans through June 30
- Some positions will be cut from full-time to part-time
- Bryan Life, the college magazine, will be delivered electronically to most recipients.
- To provide additional funds, properties owned by the college which are not essential to college operations will be placed on the market to be sold.
In addition, steps beginning July 1 with the coming academic year include:
- There will be a reduction in the number of athletics scholarships for new students
- There will be a handful of layoffs of staff and some faculty contracts will not be renewed
- Financial support for the Center for Origins Research and the Bryan Institute for Critical Thought and Practice will be reduced.
- Elimination of full-time positions is being delayed until July 1 to give those involved an opportunity to seek other situations. The college will assist these individuals as much as is possible.
“This situation is a painful reminder that we must trust God for each day and trust Him to supply our needs. God has brought Bryan through the Depression, through a devastating fire, and through many other difficulties, and He will bring us through these times IF we are faithful to Him, His Word, and our mission,” Dr. Livesay said.
“This is not easy, and we are not going to ignore the issue nor paste it over with pie-in-the-sky solutions that simply buy time but ultimately pass the burden on to others. We will meet the issue as it is and will trust God to give us His wisdom. I am confident He will bless our efforts and Bryan will be stronger and, by His grace, more able to carry out our mission in the days to come.”