Welch College announced recently that, in response to the Coronavirus crisis, it would be rolling back tuition to its 2019–20 level and initiating a program of scholarships for students in Sumner County and surrounding areas, according to Welch president Matt Pinson.

“Several surveys in the past few weeks have shown that a large percentage of parents of high school seniors are probably going to keep their kids closer to home for lower-cost college options this year because of the Coronavirus,” Pinson said.

“Even seniors themselves, in high numbers in these surveys, fear they might not be able to go off to college this fall. Researchers are citing the general anxiety and uncertainty regarding COVID-19, as well as parents’ worries about affordability in the wake of the recessionary economy caused by the virus. In response, we’ve decided to return tuition this year to its 2019–20 rate. And, with the new scholarships earmarked for local families, together with the Tennessee Hope and Promise scholarships Welch accepts, students can get a private Christian higher education at Welch for a price that is competitive with the four-year state universities here in Tennessee.”

Welch College moved to Gallatin in 2017 after selling its property in midtown Nashville near Vanderbilt and building an entirely new campus across from Station Camp High School.

Dr. Charles Lea, Special Assistant to the President at Welch, knows the Sumner County higher education scene well, having served for many years as Academic Vice President at Volunteer State Community College and as founding director of the Hendersonville campus of Union University. “A lot of Sumner Countians still don’t know much about Welch,” Lea said. “They drive by and admire the beautiful new campus, but they don’t realize what a jewel we’ve got here in Gallatin: It’s the only accredited, four-year residential college in Sumner County, with so many programs in which to get a degree.”

“Welch is ranked 16th among Southern Regional Colleges in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. During these uncertain times, a student can begin college at Welch, complete needed general education, and transfer to the college or university of his or her choice,” Lea continued.

The college’s plan is to offer special scholarships to students in Sumner, Wilson, Trousdale, and Robertson Counties, Simpson County in Kentucky, and the northeast region of Davidson County, including Goodlettsville, Madison, Old Hickory, Hermitage, and Donelson.

“We’re really putting on a push to reach out to students in these areas, some of whose parents have had a cut in pay or a job loss, many of whom are just uncertain about moving away for college this fall and are looking for lower-cost options closer to home,” said Daniel Webster, Director of Enrollment Services at Welch. “Most people don’t realize that our tuition is in the bottom quartile of private colleges in the state. When they think of ‘private’ college, they automatically think ‘pricey.’ But with this COVID-19 scholarship, we can get local families down to a price that’s competitive with what they’re going to pay at four-year state colleges.”

“There’s amazing added value to attending a small Christian college like Welch,” Webster added. “It’s a close-knit campus community, which ensures students get extra personal and spiritual mentoring. And the academic mentoring that goes on when you have a low student-faculty ratio—only 9 students for every faculty member—helps students succeed better in their profession or in graduate school. It’s one of the reasons we’ve recently gotten our graduates into graduate schools like Vanderbilt and MTSU here at home, and places like Florida State and Duke and Cambridge elsewhere.”

A high percentage of Welch graduates enter graduate and professional school, Webster added. “But what sets Welch apart for most students and parents is that we undergird the Christian values and beliefs their parents taught them. We don’t dismantle in four years the values that parents spent the first eighteen years trying to instill.”

“The college has majors in myriad fields of study,” Lea said. “Just one of those, for example, is Nursing, a profession that is in high demand. Welch has a program in which pre-nursing students who maintain a 3.0 GPA are guaranteed admission into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) at either Union here in Sumner County, or at Cumberland or Belmont. A guarantee to get into nursing school is hard to come by.”

In a letter last week to parents and students, Pinson indicated that Welch plans to open its doors to on-campus students this fall and will observe the most rigorous best practices in safety, sanitation, and social distancing.

For more information on Welch, its degree offerings, or its scholarships, email recruit@welch.edu.

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For the latest information about coronavirus, visit welch.edu/coronavirus