$13,698,000 might sound like a lot of money, but for Chris Erickson, the vice president of business for Corban College, it’s the relatively frugal amount that the college spent on operation costs last year. This chunk of change was used to pay for everything from the professors’ salaries to residence hall electric bills to student health services, even down to the budget for ASB events.
While some students complain about the cost of attending Corban, many don’t realize that the college’s operation costs actually exceed the annual revenue brought in from tuition.
“In order to make ends meet here [last year] we had to have outside fundraising of $530,000,” said Erickson.
This money primarily comes in the form of donations from Corban alumni, trustees, friends of professors, people who have interest in supporting Christian education and even some of the college employees who donate back to the college.
“We run a pretty tight ship here,” said Erickson. “My primary job is to keep tuition expenses as low as I possibly can. That’s what I’m fighting for every day.”
In 2007, the average salary for a college professor at private 2 or 4 year institution was $116,200 per year, according to the US Census Bureau statistical abstract of 2008. At Corban, a full time professor earns between $30,000 and $58,000 a year.
“In an effort to make tuition costs affordable, faculty and staff receive lower salaries than their counterparts at other private colleges and they consider their positions as a ministry,” said Erickson.
Even though the administration at Corban does its best to keep costs to a minimum, paying for school can be frustrating for students like Kristy Olsen, a sophomore who works between 13 and 14 hours a week in the dinning hall to help pay for her tuition.
“I have to work very hard all semester and then I put all of my savings into a check for next semester.” said Olsen. “At times it interferes with my homework.”
Corban students who choose not to work while school is in session often accrue debt that takes an average of 10 to 15 years to pay off, estimated Nathan Warthan, the director of financial aid. On average, students who graduated in the spring of 2007 were $24,900 in debt.
Ninety eight percent of the students at Corban receive some form of financial aid. The college administration realizes it is a struggle for students to pay for their education.
“We need a Christian Bill Gates to come along and set scholarships for Christians,” said Warthan. “That’s been on my prayer list for a while, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
In spite of the challenges the administration experiences in funding the college, more than $7.6 million in grant and scholarship aid was awarded to students last year, according to literature distributed by the financial aid office.