With the holiday season upon us, I am reminded of how much we at Capitol College have to be grateful for. We are especially grateful to have you as a member of the Capitol family. As you know, we continue to provide innovative educational programs that integrate engineering foundations, technology and business applications. Our graduates are a testament to the outstanding faculty and staff at Capitol as we continue to educate our current students – the future leaders of business, government and the nation.
As we are all well aware, our nation is experiencing an economic downturn. Indeed, the world economy is in the midst of a financial crisis the likes of which this generation has not seen. Capitol College is not exempt from the challenges resulting from the economy and we are not alone. Institutions of higher education from coast to coast are facing issues similar to ours, resulting in an increasingly competitive environment for recruiting undergraduate and graduate students, securing philanthropic gifts and dealing with a reduction in scholarship funding due to reduced assets from endowments. But, while facing these challenges, Capitol College fulfills a niche that positions us well for the future.
Even with the state of the economy, there continues to be a need within our country for highly qualified individuals in engineering, computer science, information technology and business. The National Academy of Sciences 2007 report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, specifically outlines the importance of a well-trained workforce and demonstrates that a steady stream of scientific and technical innovations is needed for our nation's future. The report continues by indicating that, "without high-quality, knowledge-intensive jobs and the innovative enterprises that lead to discovery and new technology, our economy will suffer and our people will face a lower standard of living." We are uniquely positioned to answer the call and provide the innovative leaders needed to play a key role in solving the economic problems challenging all of us.
Positioning Capitol College for the Future
As a Capitol College friend, you can be assured that we are taking the necessary steps to position ourselves to weather the current economic conditions, and ready ourselves to take full advantage of future opportunities to advance the college. During the past several months, I have been working with the Executive Council to ensure we continue to have a balanced budget, monitor our enrollment and seek new opportunities for partnerships and fundraising. Recently, I announced to the faculty and staff several immediate steps we have taken such as reducing department budgets in areas like travel. After several years of financial success and rebuilding our reserve fund, our Board of Trustees graciously endorsed two break-even years ('08 and '09), so we can instead use our expected reserve contributions to advance the college by spending on operational strategic initiatives. In order to meet this goal, we must exceed projections for spring and summer enrollments, produce more professional services revenue, secure additional grants and contracts, and increase our fundraising gifts.
We are working aggressively to further reduce expenses and to generate new revenue. The revenue potential is looking bright in several respects:
Non-endowment giving to the college was up almost 100% in 2008, due in large part to the Cyber Edge Symposium, golf tournament and contributions to the Annual Fund.
The admissions office was recently restructured and staffed to increase our level of corporate outreach and graduate student recruiting.
Capitol College recently received six-figure grants for high-ability scholarships and for information assurance training.
New funding proposals are under consideration by foundations to support retention programs.
Our new Vice President for Advancement expands our leadership capabilities.
Tuition, Financial Aid and our Endowment
Our endowment, like all universities and other nonprofit organizations invested in the stock market, enjoys times when the market is up and must deal with the ensuing issues when the market is down. We are committed to providing the highest quality education possible with a competitive tuition while working to assist, as best we can, those who need monetary assistance. Congress has increased the amount students are able to borrow in unsubsidized loans, which will help to fill what could otherwise have been a significant aid gap. Unfortunately, numerous lenders withdrew from the private alternative loan market because of the constricted credit market. With reductions in families' abilities to pay for an education and companies' abilities to reimburse their employees' tuition, the need for financial assistance is increasing.
We recently were highlighted by our local NBC news affiliate regarding the challenges colleges are dealing with because of the current economic conditions, and the financing of a college education. I invite you to view the short news segment, during which the reporter visited with a number of individuals.
I am confident of our future because of our alumni, students, parents, benefactors and friends. Our faculty and staff remained committed. Your continued support is needed today more than ever before. As a member of our college family, you have a special understanding regarding the difference a Capitol College education makes. I ask you to renew your commitment to the Capitol College family by: