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COVID-19: May Update on Admissions, Retention, Development, and Budget

Dear Colleagues,

 

I'm writing to share a few updates with you as we head into the Memorial Day Weekend:

 

Admissions

  • As of this afternoon, we have 203 active deposits for the fall. (208 total deposits, with 5 cancellations.) We remain 13% behind YTD (last year we finished at 250) and even farther behind the pace to hit our original budget goal of 270 new students. 

  • As was the case when I last updated you, we still have more admitted-but-undecided applicants than we did last year (118 v. 44), and the admissions office (along with coaches, staff, faculty, etc.) continue to pursue those students. Please pray that God would move more of these students to commit to Covenant, and please do what you can to assist the admissions office when called upon.

Retention

  • We have 619 returning students pre-registered for the fall, which puts us in line with historic percentages (88-93% pre-registered).

  • We have awarded CARES Act student relief funds. 237 students who applied and were eligible will receive varying amounts that average $1520.97 per student. In total, 346 of our current students will receive relief funds. Our hope is that receipt of these grants will strengthen students’ commitment to returning to Covenant in the fall.

Development

  • The annual fund goal of $2.45 million has been met, and we are now over $2.6 million in gifts to that fund. We still have some money to raise within that overall goal in order to hit our unrestricted giving goal for the year. And, of course, any additional funds we receive help to offset the impact of the COVID-19 shut-down. So, please pray that God would continue to provide for the college through the generosity of our donors.

  • Speaking of donor generosity, we are thrilled by the manner in which so many have responded to our appeal for support via our COVID-19 relief funds. Earlier this week, we had already received over $80,000 in gifts to those funds. One of our trustees has since presented us with a matching gift of $100,000 toward COVID-19 relief funds, toward which we secured over $50,000 in commitments.

  • We have received over $50,000 room-and-board-refund gifts.

Budget

  • We are projecting a $1.6 million loss in this fiscal year prior to coronavirus-related federal aid. We have received $411,000 in CARES Act relief funds for institutional aid (in addition to the $411,000 we have distributed to students) and we anticipate we will be able to use around $2.5 million of our forgivable PPP loan. Given these numbers, we should carry around $1.3 million of cash into next fiscal year.

  • As an example of one scenario for next year we might consider: If we were to have 220 new students in the fall (which would be 12% off of last year's number) and if we were to see our retention drop by 5% (which is not unrealistic, given the financial impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns), we would have a $1.9 million revenue shortfall relative to the budget approved by the board in March.

  • The cabinet continues to meet at least twice a week to--among other things--review plans for reopening in the fall and evaluate potential expense adjustments for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. In light of the scenario above (along with other scenarios), our goal is to cut at least $500,000 in expenses out of that budget. Please pray for Fred, the finance office, and the VPs and directors who are undertaking this important and challenging work.

Prayer

  • In addition to the items mentioned above, I would ask that you pray for former president Frank Brock and his wife, Dottie. Dottie had a heart attack a little over a week ago. She has had successful procedures to put in two stents (the second of which took place this morning) and is at home recovering. Frank had cataract surgery on Wednesday. Both are doing well, given the circumstances, and doctors expect a full recovery for both.

I hope each of you has a refreshing holiday weekend. Certainly, this is a good time to give thanks for those who have given their lives over our country's history to secure for us the remarkable--if at times imperfect--freedoms we enjoy. I hope it's also a time in which you're able to enjoy sweet fellowship with family and friends, to reflect on God's many good gifts to us, and to get some much-needed rest. All of you have worked diligently over the last two-plus months to sustain and advance the mission of Covenant College. I pray that God would restore your strength and equip you for the good work that lies in front of us.

 

Thank you for your faithful service to Covenant!

 

In Christ,

 

JDH