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Christian Colleges Are Changing to Survive. Is it Working?

Faced with declining enrollments, evangelical schools add programs, cut programs, and hope.
Christian Colleges Are Changing to Survive. Is it Working?
Image: Courtesy of Simpson University

Norman Hall knew what he needed to do. The new president of Simpson University was appointed in 2018 to save the Christian and Missionary Alliance-affiliated school in Redding, California. The hard part was how.

Enrollment was dropping at Simpson. In 2014, more than 1,000 full-time undergraduate students signed up to start classes in the fall. Four years later, there were only about 620. With that sharp decline in enrollment, revenues were disappearing fast. Faced with a budget shortfall, the administration eliminated 56 faculty and staff positions—but it wasn’t enough.

With the budget in crisis, the Northern California school was in danger of losing its accreditation. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges notified Simpson it was on a two-year probation. Things needed to turn around, quick, so the school hired a new president and presented Hall with this problem.

From his perspective, there were really only two options. Cut the budget. And attract more students. It wouldn’t ...

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