Economic Update

Dear Friends in the LeTourneau Nation,

A severe and global economic downturn will challenge all of us in this new year. Data point to the most severe downturn in 25 years or more. It is a downturn that is widespread, impacting nearly all families, industries, and regions of the world. What began as a crisis in the credit markets has become a larger crisis of confidence on both Wall Street and Main Street.

I want you to know that LeTourneau University is NOT in financial crisis. Fall 2008 enrollment was the largest ever in Longview. LeTourneau Engineering and Aeronautical Science remain widely regarded, and the future need for these professionals remains strong. Our adult education program is still one of the largest in Christian higher education. We have satisfied all our remaining obligations from the Belcher Center construction, and our history of conservative financial practices has left us in a more sound position than many organizations.

Yet, LeTourneau University cannot avoid being impacted by this economic downturn. Many of our students, parents, alumni, ministry partners, and employees will be affected. A number of prospective and continuing students might find it more difficult to pay tuition. Donors might have less to share with us, and investment losses could force many foundations to reduce their grants.

With God’s guidance and help, the University will use the following approaches and others along the way to weather these challenging times:

  • We will dedicate additional financial resources to assist those students and parents who are most significantly hurt by the economy. Continuing students with financial aid packages will see no interruption in their awards. We will be generous in providing aid to new students. We will create more employment opportunities on campus for students who want to work to meet their needs. We will be flexible with students in setting tuition payment plans.
  • We will make prudent reductions in our operating expenses. I am confident we can exercise restraint, identify savings, and delay nonessential expenses without damaging the excellent quality of the LeTourneau educational experience. We will build contingencies into our 2009-10 fiscal year operating budget to prepare for the possibility of lower enrollments.
  • We will continue to invest for LeTourneau’s future. This economic downturn will soon pass away and we should continue to equip ourselves for the work God has given us to do. Despite all the recent changes in the financial marketplace, nothing has changed in God’s Great Commission and our part in it. Our dining hall and airport construction projects will be completed as planned. We will go forward with new academic programs that will allow us to move forward in LETU’s Vision of Every Workplace: Every Nation. We will invest in our capabilities to raise funds and recruit students.
  • Most importantly, we will seek first the Kingdom of God. R.G. LeTourneau would call us back to Matthew 6:25-34 for God’s promise in times such as these. I encourage you to find peace in His promise to know our needs and provide for them.

God’s people can look up in such challenging times and view these circumstances with an eternal perspective. Our God loves us too much to allow us to put our trust in the shifting sands of our home equity or stock market investments. Instead, He calls us anew to put our trust in the solid rock of God’s unfailing love. When the world looks at LeTourneau University, I pray they will see the peace of God promised in Matthew 6:33 – especially in trying times like this new year.

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