The Power of Choice

HAVING USED its resources wisely and balanced its budget for 27 years, Hampden-Sydney College is well respected for sound fiscal management. Still, the cost of educating a student has more than doubled over the past two decades. In 1986, expenditures per student for instruction, research, general academic support, student services, plant maintenance, and auxiliary support were $15,413. In 2004, these totaled more than $38,000. (The College Entrance gates at Hampden-Sydney provided 23% of that, more than ever before, to its students in the form of financial aid.) Although tuition has increased over the years, tuition revenues meet just 54% of today's costs. The College thus relies on the endowment, its other major source of support, to produce a steady, dependable stream of income.

Hampden-Sydney College currently ranks sixth in total endowment among nine similar colleges. Only by building its endowment can the College continue to offer the quality of education it is known for and move up in those ranks to compete successfully with other colleges and universities.

Institutions with larger endowments enjoy a greater power of choice. They can encourage faculty and students in creative study and research; they can allow programmatic needs to drive their budgets, and not the reverse; they can choose to apply for major grants that require matching funds; and they can develop one program or another, based on the merits of each rather than how much money is in the budget. A larger endowment will allow Hampden-Sydney College this power of choice, to sustain its day-to-day work and grow in strength. It will mean that, here, no good idea will go unfunded.

By endowing a fund in this campaign, you will thus have an explicit and long-term effect on the quality of education the College provides. Your contribution will become part of the permanent financial underpinnings of Hampden-Sydney College. And your endowed fund will endure as long as the College exists: it will still be making a difference in students' lives through the College's second 230-year span and beyond.