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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Crisis affects ELCA schools

The partial freezing of a money fund in the fallout from the nation’s credit crisis sparked everything from deep concern to relief on the part of ELCA colleges, universities and seminaries.

Nearly 1,000 colleges and other schools were affected when the Wilton, Conn.-based Commonfund’s $9 billion-plus short-term fund was frozen as a result of the near collapse of the fund’s trustee, Wachovia Corp.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Web site, on Oct. 1 the percentage a college could withdraw of its holdings in the fund had already risen to 26 percent, with predictions of nearly 75 percent available by year end.

Edward F. Leonard III, president of Bethany, Lindsborg, Kan., said he was concerned about next semester, when the college accesses short-term funds for operating expenses. The school—with a $12 million budget—has $700,000 invested in the fund, Leonard said. “All colleges ride a cash roller coaster,” Leonard told the Chronicle. “But the smaller colleges, like Bethany, we feel those bumps more than others do.”


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