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The challenges of our current economy

financialThe current economic times are turbulent and challenging, affecting everyone as the Dow plunges to record-low rates. Each day reports from higher education media describe how colleges and universities across the country are experiencing the effects of the financial crisis on their faculty, staff, and students.

At the regular fall gathering of faculty and staff in November, Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow discussed the economic crisis and its implications for the College.

As are colleges across the country, Pribbenow said that Augsburg has noticed an increased number of students this semester who have larger than normal student account balances. He explained that Augsburg’s enrollment and financial services staff are working closely with individual students to develop financing plans.

“Our concern is to find ways to meet student needs but also to ensure that we don’t encourage them to take on more debt than they or their families can manage.” He stressed that the College continues to monitor the impact of the current situation on institutional well-being and on the lives of our students.

Pribbenow said that while the College has sustained losses to its endowment, the impact is “real but not threatening.” Unlike many higher education institutions, Augsburg is not dependent on its endowment to support a large portion of its operating costs. He added that College leaders are thinking through short-, intermediate- and long-term implications of various financial and market trends and will make adjustments as they are needed.

Pribbenow said that as he and Institutional Advancement staff have traveled to meet with donors and friends of the College, he is encouraged by their continued commitment to support the mission of the College and the education it provides. He noted that donors continue to be engaged by the compelling stories Augsburg tells about how it prepares students for their work, family, and community life.

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