(Photo : Gateway Seminary)
(Photo : Gateway Seminary)

The Gateway Seminary website reported that in a virtual spring conference, the board of trustees agreed on a slight cut for the 2020-21 budget($11,500,000), which is about 2.1 percent less than the previous year($11,750,000). Also, 3.8 percent down from the original proposal budget($11,950,000).

The revisions were inevitable for the unforeseen circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are expecting less support from Cooperative Program support as well as lower revenues from tuition and campus housing while maintaining current employees. Trustees will be reevaluating the revisions during the board meeting in October.

Gateway President Jeff Iorg stated, "We are a fiscally conservative seminary. We have no debt, and we live on our income. We have been frugal in good times. We have significant reserves from good management in the past and have wisely invested the resources accrued by the seminary through the sale of our former campus in Northern California. We are prepared to weather the pandemic."

President Iorg is confident that the enrollment will be stable even during the pandemic backed up by the early enrollment rate in the summer term already surpass the total enrollment rate of last summer. Iorg said, "The earliest Fall 2020 enrollment figures, while too early to establish a trend, are also very promising."

During the virtual meeting, trustees authorized the seminary to seek financial relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act stimulus bill, which was enacted by Congress last month.

The Paycheck Protection Program is an SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This includes churches and other religious nonprofit organizations. Organizations fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive loans of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll, with a cap of $10 million per loan. This will support them to payoff operating fees such as mortgages and utilities.

Gateway reported that "Gateway requested $1,621,708 in relief; its trustees approved the school's use of $1,226,600. Since Gateway has no mortgage debt, almost all the funds from this program will be used for payroll purposes."

This was very encouraging since nonprofit religious organizations in western states such as California generally do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

"The seminary is accomplishing its mission and doing it well," Iorg said. "We are proud of our faculty and staff for the work they have done in making the transition to a distance learning environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of them have told me privately, 'Mr. President, we've got this. We moved the seminary 400 miles without closing our academic programs in 2016. We can make this transition as well.' That is the kind of people who work at Gateway and I'm proud to be their president."