Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Forced to Close Center, Make Other Cuts

January 14, 2009 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

Not immune to the tumbling economy, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is cutting some programs and has closed its preschool child-care center.

“This is a most regrettable circumstance and not of our own making,” Southwestern President Paige Patterson said in a new release. “But as stewards before God, we are all responsible for handling matters with as much compassion and justice as we possibly can. The goal in the end is to have a strong seminary when the present financial crisis eases.”
Last month, the seminary downsized its financial aid office with an eye toward keeping service levels the same, said Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications. There have been isolated layoffs, he said.
The seminary suspended for the next 18 months the operation of the Naylor Children’s Center, which has run at a deficit. The center provides child care for children of students and staff, and other children as space is available. The center also is a training lab for seminary childhood-education students.
An Oxford study program and many overseas study trips were also suspended. The administration hopes to restore the trips by 2010, though that will take a “dramatic” turnaround of financial trends, according to the news release.
Southwestern is funded by an endowment, tuition and fees, donations and contributions from Baptists through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. Losses in the stock market have hurt the seminary’s endowment, though not as badly as other schools, according to the seminary. Patterson said the seminary must plan wisely to avoid tuition increases.
“The seminary’s Board of Trustees has advised that with the stress on Cooperative Program giving as well as the losses sustained in endowment common to universities all over America, Southwestern must substantially reduce the current and future budgets,” Patterson said.
Patterson said he anticipates other cuts so the seminary can maintain debt-free operations and to be certain that revenues cover expenditures. But White said Southwestern is financially stable.
Southwestern at a glance Enrollment (2007-08): 3,581
Total budget for 2008-09: $36,987,017
Funding Sources:
26.64% SBC Cooperative Program
31.5% Student fees
20.94% from investments, gifts, grants
12.92% from auxiliary
8% from student aid
Source: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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