Dear Warner Pacific University students,
A little over a week ago, Concordia University’s Interim President announced the decision to close the institution at the end of spring semester. As you can imagine, Concordia students, faculty, staff and alumni are devastated by this decision.
In recent years, higher education has been experiencing significant changes brought on by a confluence of factors. Regardless of size or history, every institution—public or private—is actively adapting to ensure the integrity of meeting student’s needs while remaining financially sustainable. This is as true for Warner Pacific University as it is for any other school, and we have been focused on ensuring that Warner Pacific will be stable to serve students for years to come.
Because of the changing higher education environment, our Board of Trustees and administration have been vigilant about making decisions, some of which have been very hard, to adapt to meet the interests of students and marketplace demands. In recent years we focused on strategically investing in four academic areas for which there is high demand both by students and expected by employers over the next 10 years: Business, Nursing/Healthcare, Teacher Education, and Technology (sourceU) our Cyber Security and Web Development programs. Several other program areas have steady enrollment and will continue to be supported by the University. However, these changes in the environment meant that we needed to eliminate some programs for which there was lower demand. We remain committed to building new programs to meet market demands.
Our Board and administration are focused on ensuring the institution’s financial health. Key factors demonstrating our financial condition include the following:
- Our debt is low, and we operate free of commitments to third party organizations, which could result in costly financial obligations.
- Our debt ratio is lower than many institutions.
- Our financial investments (endowment) continue to grow – thanks to donors who support the University and create funds for student scholarships and other purposes.
- Annually we participate in financial surveys that measure similar institutions’ financial health:
- We consistently rank in the top 50% in financial stability (which means we are carefully managing WPU’s resources to ensure the institution’s viability).
- The U.S. Department of Education annually assesses every higher education institution’s financial responsibility. Scores on this measure can range between -1.0 to +3.0. For a number of years Warner Pacific has consistently scored +2.5 to +3.0. Institutions with scores of +1.5 to +3.0 are considered to be financially responsible.
This year we experienced a 7% increase in enrollment compared to last year, and we are working to continue to grow our enrollment. We are forming partnerships with several organizations around the city to provide educational opportunities for their employees and clients.
Our Board is strongly committed to our mission and provides excellent oversight and accountability for the operation of the University. Warner Pacific’s relationship with the Church of God is a mutual covenant. Other churches have a more direct role in governance and financial control of their denominational institutions.
The Board of Trustees is actively preparing for the future. They are currently engaged in a process that will lead to identifying a new President for Warner Pacific by the end of this semester. There is very high interest in the position and a very strong pool of candidates have applied. I am thrilled to know that 45 people applied for my job – because they see that Warner Pacific is a great place doing amazing things to serve student from diverse backgrounds with a Christ-centered, urban, liberal arts education.
I know that seeing institutions in our city close creates a sense of concern for our students and their families. I wanted to share with you some information that would let you know that we take very seriously our work of overseeing the resources of the University to ensure that the mission of Warner Pacific will go on for years to come.
It has been my deep honor to serve Warner Pacific and all of her students these past 15 years, and I sincerely believe that the best is yet to come.
Andrea P. Cook, Ph.D.