Monday, February 23, 2009

Calvin College freezes pay, hikes tuition for 2009-10 school year

By Velida Alemic

GRAND RAPIDS -- Calvin College becomes the second area private college to freeze pay for all employees this fall.

In an e-mail today to faculty and staff, Calvin President Gaylen Byker was expected to announce the decision, made by the Board of Trustees over the weekend, to freeze salaries for about 750 employees and raise tuition 3.8 percent for 2009-10.

The announcement comes a week after Hope College announced a salary freeze for its 700 employees and a 2.9 percent tuition increase.

Calvin students will pay $1,175 more in tuition, room and board next fall, for a total of $32,310.
In his e-mail, Byker said the tuition increase is among the smallest in the college's recent history and comes as the college is affected by the struggling economy.

The college's endowment is down 20 percent, ministry shares from the Christian Reformed Church are down 15 percent and the Calvin Annual Fund -- which contributes $3 million to the college's $96 million budget -- also dropped by 20 percent.

"In light of all this, we felt we had no other choice but to freeze salaries for 2009-2010. It is a decision we do not take lightly," he said, adding in recent years the college has made efforts to make wages competitive with comparable institutions. "It is personally frustrating to not be able to continue that progress this year."

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