Dear W&J Parent(s) or Guardian(s):
As the economic downturn spreads, there have been many news stories about colleges and universities instituting hiring freezes, reducing services, and otherwise compromising the quality of education that they provide. Large public schools are increasing their enrollments while reducing their faculties, making classes larger and special opportunities like research and individualized advising less readily available.
I am writing to assure you that Washington & Jefferson College remains committed to providing your sons and daughters a truly exceptional liberal arts education, marked by personalized attention and guidance, close faculty-student interactions, challenging seminars and laboratories, extensive advising for graduate study and future employment, a full program of varsity and intramural athletics, a rich array of study abroad and internship programs, and opportunities to pursue groundbreaking research in many different fields.
In contrast to many of our peers, W&J remains strong financially. Of course the College is being impacted by the economy, but our operating funds are secure and federally insured, our debt exposure is under control, our endowment is conservatively invested, and 80% of the funds for the new Science Center are in hand so there will be no interruption in that important project. As the economic situation develops, we will proceed prudently and make decisions that will not compromise our excellent product.
We realize that some families may be concerned about obtaining student loans, while others are facing significant changes in their financial situations. If you are in this position, let me urge you to contact our Financial Aid office and discuss your circumstances with them. We will work with you to assess your situation and ensure that your child can complete his or her education at W&J.
You should also know that the recent “bailout plan” gives the Treasury Secretary the authority to secure both private and federal student loans. There are also provisions in place that allow the Department of Education to act as a type of secondary market for federal student loans—a move that is widely credited with having kept student loans flowing this fall. Furthermore, the “bailout plan” also extends the tuition tax deduction for two years, through 2009.
As we work to ensure the continued financial strength of Washington & Jefferson College, our primary commitment is to student success and achievement. All decisions are driven by that commitment. Accordingly, we pledge to continue to provide an outstanding liberal arts education to each and every student and to try to assist those of you who face financial stress.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office or to email me personally at email@example.com.
Dr. Tori Haring-Smith