- In order to ensure Haverford's mission of academic excellence in perpetuity, which is the fiduciary duty of the Board of Managers, the College is developing a multi-year plan to achieve operating equilibrium on a full-accrual basis. The Board will make final determinations about the best path forward for Haverford.
- What we face is not an existential issue; Haverford's overall financial condition is reliably sound, and our standing as one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges continues to attract record numbers of applicants as we enroll the most qualified students in College history. Addressing the continuing budget deficit will safeguard all levels of the operation, for generations to come.
- Many of the current financial pressures can be traced back to the Great Recession; notably, in 2009 and for the first time ever, the cost of a year at Haverford (or any of our peers) exceeded median U.S. family income. As we will note below, Financial Aid costs have dramatically increased for this and other reasons, and economic predictors suggest that these two trend lines will not re-cross on their own in the future, so we must recalibrate our budgeting.
- The external environment is likely to remain challenging for higher education; Haverford should not expect changing external circumstances to relieve us of the burden of difficult choices.
This page was created in Spring 2016 as part of institutional budget planning deliberations.
Reaching Budget Equilibrium: Key Points
Haverford’s academic excellence is at the heart of our mission and economic model. Sustaining that excellence is our highest priority.
As detailed below, Haverford (like virtually every other college and university in America today) faces fiscal challenges. To help ensure that we on the Board of Managers make wise and well-informed choices in response to these pressures, College leadership has modeled dozens of possible financial scenarios which have been presented to, and discussed with, students, faculty, and staff. These meetings have been an opportunity for the campus community to examine the possibilities and ramifications of myriad paths forward.
We are happy to share with you details of those conversations, and our thinking about next steps. There is a comment field for your thoughts at the conclusion of this document; many thanks for taking the time to first familiarize yourself with the underlying issues and options as we determine how best to ensure that Haverford continues to deliver academic excellence in perpetuity, in ways consistent with community values.
We know from recent market research that the best students are seeking a balanced experience across all dimensions of their undergraduate journey. To privilege one aspect of that experience at the expense of others does not position Haverford to deliver what we know the most talented students seek. And make no mistake, these top-tier students have great choices, with academically successful, underrepresented students having the best choices of all. The most effective way to attract high-caliber students is to provide a full and balanced experience marked by exceptional academic opportunities.
Without question, the most intense campus conversation thus far has centered around values and how these proposed changes align with community standards and expectations. If we are truly committed to what we think of as ‘Quaker values’, the commitment to excellence in perpetuity needs to be sustained. Indeed, in our view, ‘values’ only have meaning when they are evidenced by actions. We are not being truthful if we say we can sustain something that we cannot. An editorial published in the student news outlet opposing changes to Financial Aid policy no doubt spoke for many.
President Benston’s response is equally engaging. If that constellation of issues is of interest, we encourage you to read them.
Thank you for supporting Haverford.
Rick White '81
Chair, Board of Managers
Garry Jenkins '92
Vice Chair, Board of Managers