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Making Biola more affordable

Kelley* wrote me recently. You wouldn’t know Kelley. She’s not a Biola student but she wants to be. She applied and visited and was accepted, but the costs were too much for her to attend. Kelley enrolled elsewhere. I had a pit in my stomach as I read her story:

I cannot tell you how many times tears have sprung to my eyes when I’ve realized that unless God chooses to work an absolute miracle in my life, I cannot attend Biola. I am twenty-one years old. I’m at a time in my life where most students are ready to graduate and be done with college. But, honestly, I’d start back at my freshman year if there were any possibility of attending Biola.

Kelley’s not alone. Our Financial Aid Office —- a wonderful team working hard on your behalf —- frequently hears stories like Kelley’s. My heart breaks for those who want to study at Biola, but cannot afford it.

What will we do to address the issue of affordability?

One of four directives in our University Plan is: “We will be a university that practices sound financial management, addresses the rising challenge of affordability, and secures the funding to carry out the plans of the university.”
As we aspire to position Biola as a comprehensive Christian university known for academic breadth and quality, we will continue seeking innovative ways of affordability for coming generations.

Part of the answer is to minimize tuition increases. The Board recently approved a 3.99 percent tuition increase for 2010-2011, our lowest increase in at least 25 years. Another challenge is to increase donations, and I can assure you that we have a qualified and determined team in our Advancement Office who is dedicated to making this a high priority for fund-raising goals. Next year’s budget calls for an increase of 6 percent in the Biola Fund for general scholarships.

We are also maintaining the higher level of student aid that we added to our budget for this current year, which is $1 million more than the 2008-2009 academic year. These are all heading us in the right direction, but I acknowledge we have much more to do.

This is just one of many issues that are on the hearts and minds of university leadership as we strive to make Biola University a better institution with each passing day. On the evening of March 10, Associated Students will be hosting a student forum in the cafeteria where the President’s Administrative Council will hear your questions and concerns.

I am so thankful that Biola is financially sound, yet I am even more thankful for each student that God has called to be a part of this community. This is why we commit ourselves to faithful stewardship — making the most of what we have been given in pursuit of the world-changing plans and purposes that God has for Biola University.

*name changed

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