Grinnell College Board of Trustees Affirms Need-Blind Admissions, Directs College to Implement Sustainable Financial Strategies
College and Trustees Will Track Efforts and Rigorously Assess Progress
This announcement was revised on Sunday, February 24, 2013, based on suggestions and input from Grinnell alumni. Text in bold and the Board Resolution were added.
For many months, Grinnellians have been actively engaged in a conversation about how to secure Grinnell College’s financial future. At its regular meeting on Saturday, February 23, 2013, the Board of Trustees acted on extensive market research, financial modeling, and feedback from alumni, faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders.
It approved a continuation of need-blind policies for Grinnell's domestic students and the implementation of concrete objectives that will ensure the College's sustainable commitment to academic excellence and access at Grinnell.
Many community members have asked which financial aid and enrollment strategies were approved by the Board. Such inquiries often refer to the Options A, B, and C that were shared during our community-wide conversations in Fall 2012. Those lists were presented as examples of strategies that could be deployed at different levels. But the actual choice of such strategies was not the topic of the vote by the Trustees.
The Board confirmed that Grinnell College can no longer rely on such a large proportion of its funding from the endowment. It empowered President Kington and the College to act to increase student revenues and, at the same time, work to increase the stream of alumni philanthropy. One very important aspect of the vote is that it requires the Board and College to establish clear goals toward financial sustainability and annually assess progress. In 2015 the Trustees will comprehensively review our progress to date and determine whether the College is on a sustainable path. If not, they will deliberate the further actions necessary to ensure the College's sustainability.
Board Resolution: Retain Need-Blind, Reassess in 2015
Grinnell affirms its two closely paired commitments to need-blind admission and meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for domestic students. We will conduct an annual assessment of endowment performance, philanthropic support, net tuition revenue, and cost structure. If we have not demonstrated significant progress toward resolving the structural imbalance in our operating budget by the fall of 2015, we will determine at that time whether to pursue more aggressive enrollment management strategies or become openly need-aware, effective with the entering class of 2017.
The heart of the matter is this: Grinnell has benefited for many years from its exceptional endowment, and over time it came to rely on it heavily. Today, more than 50 percent of the annual operating budget comes from this one funding source: money that goes to support academic excellence, diversity, and commitment to need-blind admissions and meeting 100 percent of students’ demonstrated need.
The world has changed, and that source is no longer sufficient on its own. Grinnellians need to come together as never before, sharing responsibility for the College’s sustainable future and for the values we treasure. This is just the beginning of a process that will carry Grinnell’s best traditions forward into a new era. The College encourages you to review the data and consider how you can do your part as an informed citizen of the Grinnell community.
Learn more about the College’s operating budget and options for choosing our future:
- Letters from President Kington, Chair of the Faculty Kathryn Kamp, and the Alumni Council.
- Get background on the challenge from College, alumni, and faculty leaders.
- Choosing Grinnell’s Future
- See where the discussion began: an introduction to the College’s business case and our structural challenges.
- Measure the progress of the discussion and learn how to get involved.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Get answers to common questions about what has been done so far… and what is being considered.
- Review the terminology of higher-ed finance and financial aid.
- Doing Our Part
- Join the effort to keep Grinnell excellent, diverse and accessible.
- Additional Resources
- View a narrated slideshow of the presentations on college budget levers and enrollment strategies given on campus, read recent media coverage on the cost of higher education, and find resources for more data.