Moravian College

Dear Men and Women of Moravian:

Spring time is an occasion to be hopeful; but the hopes of spring time must always be tempered with caution as the weather of the last two weeks demonstrates.

Let me take a moment to share with you some news about our financial outlook.  The senior staff and I are busy preparing for meetings during the week of 14 April with our Board of Trustees.  As we do each spring, we will present the budget for the next year, 2011-12.  The following is a brief overview of our financial position and the key assumptions that form the basis for next year’s budget.  Let me emphasize the words “hope” and “caution” as you review this information.

Importantly, we are beginning to see improvements in our financial position because of our ability to control expenses over the past three years and, as a result, the college is in a somewhat better position than last year for creating a balanced budget. This is a result of a lot of hard work and collaboration by everyone who is a part of our campus community. Thank you. The past few years have not been easy.

We are currently projecting a modest surplus for this year and if it materializes I will ask the Planning and Budget Committee for its recommendations on how best to use it.  In order to achieve a balanced budget for this year, it was necessary to cut expenses and defer funding for equipment, deferred maintenance, marketing and library operations. We may have an opportunity to address some of these needs if the projected surplus materializes.  Although we have fallen short of this year’s targets for annual giving and enrollment, we have covered the associated revenue shortfall by budgeting an appropriate contingency.

Looking forward, the budget that we will ask the Board to approve for next year reflects the priorities that I shared with the PBC last fall to make progress towards our enrollment goal of 1620 FTE and compensation objectives.  The budget presented to me by the PBC for 2011-12, which the senior staff and I have endorsed, includes the following key assumptions and recommendations:

  • We will invest ~$1.5 million more in financial aid;
  • A  goal of 1554 financial FTE day students;
  •  90% of students in the new freshmen class in the top half of their high school class;
  • A proposed modest increase in salary pool of 2.5% ;
  • We expect to be able to fund 100% of all high priority equipment requests within budget and from this year’s projected surplus;
  • A  plan to double our investment in enrollment related marketing;
  • We are moving forward with three projects to support our enrollment goals: improvements to the HUB, a new Fitness Center, and renovations to Bernhard-Wilhelm residence hall;
  • We plan to borrow $5.0 million and have established a debt service line in next year’s budget to pay for these projects and to start building a debt service reserve for the future Collier Hall of Science Project, which continues to be our top priority capital project.

We are clearly moving in the right direction but the continuing weak and uncertain economic environment is challenging for Moravian and higher education in general. The keys to our continued progress are dependent on our ability to grow and maintain enrollment, and to achieve our fundraising objectives.  Please continue to support the hard work of the Admissions office in their efforts to recruit and retain qualified students and the office of Institutional Advancement in their progress with fundraising.

Please accept my genuine thanks for all that you do on a daily basis to help ensure that the Moravian Promise continues to be a reality for our students.

Thank you,

Christopher M. Thomforde