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Southern Seminary facing budget shortfall comment (0)

January 1, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., is predicting layoffs and tuition increases to manage a $3 million budget shortfall.

President Al Mohler said in a Dec. 15 letter to the seminary community that cost-saving measures — including a hiring freeze on non-essential positions and reduced travel — have already trimmed the school’s budget by $1.7 million.

That leaves a projected $800,000 to $1.5 million in further reductions projected over the next several months. Mohler said that would likely mean a reduction in the seminary’s workforce and increasing tuition to boost revenue.

Mohler attributed the shortfall to significant losses in the value of the seminary’s endowed funds. He also said the school projects annual gift levels this year to be lower than usual and has been advised by denominational leaders to expect economic forces to eventually show up in reduced giving through the Southern Baptist Convention. Prior to the shortfall, Southern Seminary’s 2008–2009 budget was $36,947,000. Just less than 40 percent of the school’s income comes from tuition and fees. Nine percent is drawn from endowment revenue and 27 percent from the Cooperative Program.

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