FAQ From the College / University Survey

I’ve been receiving lots of helpful insight and ideas regarding this decision whether or not to change our name from Belhaven College to Belhaven University.

The concept has also raised a number of questions, and I thought it would be helpful to answer a few of those that came  in through the survey comments or emails:

Would renaming Belhaven a University change who we are? No, instead, it would reflect who we have already become.  There would be no change in mission, style, or priorities with a name change because we already operate as a complex multi-level Christ-centered academic institution where our standard is Christ.

Would we become a larger residential campus if we changed to University? Our traditional age student program could grow by only about another 20% or  until we run out of space (we grew about 5% this year.)  We can only house about another 100 students on campus in double rooms, and I don’t see a new residence hall on the near horizon.

Would we become larger overall if we changed to University? I sure hope so!  We would love to have more students in our adult programs on all four campuses, as well as in our graduate programs.  The most significant enrollment increase will come in our new online master degrees which begin in January.

Here is one of the things I love most about what God has given us at Belhaven

Belhaven is unique among nearly every college in the country, in that we are blessed to be able to grow dramatically without it changing at all the spirit and nature of the residential campus.  Because we have multiple campuses, we can have a small campus feel in each of our locations, while still being a large institution overall and enjoying those accompanying benefits and economy of scale.

Would becoming a University raise the tuition? The name won’t have anything to do with tuition.  That is driven by market conditions, financial needs, and overall enrollment.  This past year we had a tuition increase half the rate of a normal year because of the economy – while the majority of schools had increases higher than a normal year.  This year’s fee rate increase will be more back to normal, about 5%, depending on the program and location.

Would class sizes change if we becaome a University? No, the name change won’t change the current class structure.  Again, a name change would only reflect who we’ve already become.  So, if you like the class sizes now, you’d like them with the change of name.  If you want huge classes with 300 in a lecture hall, we can’t help you.

Would hiring standards for faculty and staff change and would they still be required to teach from a Christian worldview? Our mission, worldview focus, Christian commitment, and hiring standards would not change one ounce!  We will never budge on our standards for hiring or anything else.  “Our standard is Christ” will be our driving force even if we were called Belhaven Royal Conservatory (which was a suggestion someone sent me, and I kind of like the sound of it!)

I’m glad for the active dialog and the prayerful thought that has gone into this decision.  The survey will be open through the weekend, and if you’ve not had a chance to fill it out, I’d encourage you to join the 700 people who have already responded.

2 thoughts on “FAQ From the College / University Survey

  1. I do not see how tuition would not go up. You mentioned that it would go up if there was financial need. There would be great financial need if we changed the name. The gates with BC on them would have to be changed, the markers outside the Center for the Arts and between Fitzhugh and Preston would need to be changed from Belhaven College to Belhaven University. All the lunch trays in the cafeteria would need to be changed. The merchandise in the student store would either need to be sold at a discounted price or just gotten rid of and new merchandise be stocked up with Belhaven University on it. And is it up to the state to change the signs on the highway? If not, that would be another factor.

    All these changes would cost a lot of money for the school. That would put financial need on the school and therefore most likely raise tuition. We, the students, are already paying a lot for the education here, and it was our choice to come here, but if the tuition goes up too much, you will lose a lot of students because we just won’t be able to afford it. We want to stay, but we have to think about our future. A lot of loans to pay off is not something we want. Many of us are coming here with the help of loans.

    I have no problem with the school changing its name as long as tuition doesn’t go up. But I really do like our BC. Just thinking about small things like saying, “We love our BC!” would be lost. It doesn’t sound right saying, “We love our BU!” It changes the feel of the school.

    I respect the fact that foreign students might not realize that we are not a high school, but if they are coming to a different culture, they should respect that our culture IS different than theirs. We should not decide to change our name simply because their colleges are called universities. I know before I went overseas, I researched the culture of the places I was going, and I was only eleven years old! Anytime anyone crosses cultures, it is their responsibility to research where they are going. If they do that, they will see that college is the same as university. That’s why there are no stipulations to becoming a university. They’re the same thing. And when you look up a college on their website, it tells you if it’s a four-year, two-year, or tech school. Of course, all universities that I know of are four-year institutions. If they decide not to come here because we are called college, then that’s their loss. They did not do their duty and research.

    The ultimate reason always comes down to money. Please don’t make us pay more. The economy is too hard to start off as college graduates with large amounts of money owed. We came here because of the academic quality and we want to stay here. But we will leave if there is no other choice. We have to think of our future.

    Thank you for listening.
    Deanna Jean Vanderver

    • Deanna Jean,

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. It is very helpful to me and the board. You raise many of the issues we’ve been considering through this deliberation.

      Let me relieve your fears about the money. I plan to share more about this later, but the costs for the change have been carefully calculated. Students will not be asked to pay one dime more if we decide to change to university. Overall the cost of a change is fairly minimal because so much of the work we do is electronically based.

      We expect to raise gifts for the construction to replace the sign (which has been on the drawing board for replacement for some time no matter what.) The BC on the gates was done very low cost by our physical plant department. We will use up most of our printed materials with stickers announcing the name change on prospective student material – and we don’t stock pile those materials anyway, printing only enough for one year at a time. The bookstore has more “Belhaven” or “Blazers” stuff than it does “College” and those costs will not increase if this decision to change is made.

      We’ve looked at all those angles of costs and would not even consider this if would make the cost of your education more expensive.

      I appreciate all the important points you raise in your comment here on the blog, and will consider them carefully along with the responses and ideas from the 900 people who have responded so far.


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