Coffman Hall on Welch College Campus - a Christian Bible College in Gallatin, Tennessee

Welch College recently received an emergency relief grant of $400,000 from the Free Will Baptist Foundation to cover impairment from COVID-19, according to Welch president Matt Pinson.

“We are so thankful to the Free Will Baptist Foundation and its Board of Directors for this generous grant,” Pinson said. This will help us close the enormous gap between income and expenses caused by the Coronavirus.”

Economists predict that higher education will be one of the economic sectors hardest-hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. This is especially true of colleges and universities that rely on in-residence dorm students for the bulk of their revenue.

“The entire fiscal year for most private, residential colleges is based on how many students come at one point in the year—the fall semester,” Craig Mahler, vice president for financial affairs said. “Higher education experts are bracing for an extremely difficult year. In addition to enrollment, industry projections are that gifts will be down drastically owing to job losses, the impairment of donors’ investment portfolios, etc. Add to that all the money we’ve lost by sending students home for half the spring semester, and you have the perfect storm.”

College officials predict that the $400,000 grant from the Free Will Baptist Foundation, as well as a Small Business Administration loan of over $700,000 and CARES act grants of over $300,000 will help make up a fraction of the shortfall. But most of it will have to be done by budget cuts and additional appeals for funds from alumni, friends of the college, and denominational supporters.

“Our greatest challenge is going to be students not being able to enroll because of parents’ job losses and other economic harm that has come to their families,” Pinson said. “With the huge unemployment rate, we’re already hearing this. Some of our friends and supporters aren’t going to be able to give for the same reasons. But we’re praying that those who still can give will support these students who won’t be able to attend Welch without that extra support.”

For more information, or to give to support needy students, please visit welch.edu/give/ and click on Coronavirus Student Relief Fund.

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