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University trustees approve campus-wide belt tightening measures and kick off additional fund-raising to augment student financial aid

Friday, Feb. 13, 2009

Santa Clara University Board of Trustees today approved several measures to reduce spending, address the cost of attendance, and increase student financial aid to help the University and its students weather the economic recession.  

 At a meeting of the board of trustees, several measures were approved to respond to the severe global economic downturn and resulting decline on returns on the University endowment. The measures include: 

  •  A tuition and room and board  increase of 3 percent; the lowest percentage increase in 25 years
  • No salary increases for faculty and staff with two exceptions (promotions in rank for faculty, and required increases for certain contracted employees) 
  • An increase in funding for student financial aid
  • A reduction in targeted departmental operating expenses of $2 million
  • A position management system to review each vacant position for its strategic importance

"Our goals during this difficult time are to maintain Santa Clara’s high standards of academic excellence while sustaining our financial strength and providing an affordable environment for our students. With the help of our exceptional faculty and staff, we will soldier through this economic setback and maintain the forward momentum of Santa Clara’s academic program,” said A.C “Mike” Markkula, chair of the SCU Board of Trustees.

Santa Clara University’s endowment has been reduced by investment losses of 24 percent in the calendar year 2008. At present it is worth approximately $533 million. Income from the University’s endowment will make up 8 percent of the $322 million budget for the year 2009-10, which was approved today by the University’s Board of Trustees.

 “Our goal is to protect the strength and character of a Santa Clara education while dealing with the financial challenges that impact our students, their families, and the University's balance sheet,” said SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. “We are committed to maintaining financial aid and the quality of our educational program throughout the economic crisis and ensuring that economic hardships do not cause students to withdraw, or prevent new students from coming to Santa Clara. Two priorities have guided our recommendations: avoid involuntary reductions in staffing and bolster financial aid to students,” Engh said.

 The University has already seen an increase in financial aid requests from current students and is responding to those requests with help from donors. An anonymous donor has agreed to match other gifts for emergency financial aid with a challenge grant of $100,000 on a $1 for $2 dollar basis.

 The Jesuit community at Santa Clara University has donated a portion of its annual gift to the university to create another challenge of $200,000. If these two challenges of $300,000 are met, the university would receive $900,000 for emergency financial aid for students.  

 “We are very concerned about the impact of the economic downturn on Santa Clara students and their families,” said Jim Purcell, vice-president of university relations, who spearheads the University’s fundraising efforts.

 “Approximately 70 percent of the University’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid,” Purcell added. “We will raise funds for scholarships because Santa Clara is committed to helping families and students access a Jesuit education. The gifts will allow students to come to SCU who could not have attended without financial support. We are committed to educating leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion in the Santa Clara tradition.”

 The University has delayed some of its capital projects, but is moving forward with the student event center scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009 because that is being funded by a restricted gift.

 The budget recommendations were developed in consultation and collaboration with the Executive and Finance Committees of the Board of Trustees and the President’s Staff, as well as extensive consultation with the University Budget Council, staff in the Provost’s office, the University Finance Office, University Relations, and Enrollment Management.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,685 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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