All In: The Networks That Move the University


On a MissionAfter sustaining a financial hit, it’s easy for institutions to draw inward and become less generous with financial aid. Football coaches call this condition “alligator arms.” When some receivers take a knock or two, their arms seem to shorten. They play convinced that the worst is coming, keep their hands in close for protection, and watch balls fall incomplete all around them.

Nebraska Wesleyan isn’t drawing in its hands. The university’s budget shows an institution that’s digging deeper and reaching farther than ever before to help students and families meet expenses. “Nebraska Wesleyan is making every effort to provide greater financial aid to those who need it as costs increase and the economy struggles,” said Chandler. “While the budget for financial aid this year increased by almost $1 million, more is needed to help students and families choose an excellent education.”

The university’s financial aid counselors work diligently to help struggling families find solutions. To do otherwise “would cause some of our students to change their educational plans,” said Tom Ochsner, NWU’s director of scholarships and financial aid. “They’d be forced to transfer to other schools, or worse yet, stop attending altogether.”

Ochsner and others refuse to drop the ball for students and families facing financial challenges.

“When you look at our mission statement,” Ochsner said, “I don’t see how we could have responded any differently. If we have a Christian concern about our students’ intellectual and personal growth, and they’ve done everything we have asked of them in the classroom, we have an obligation to try and help them through those difficult financial times to the best of our ability.”

Said Ochsner, “I believe [this budget] was another example of all of us at Nebraska Wesleyan living out our institutional mission statement.”

Advancing the university through uncertain times is not for the faint of heart. The jars and jolts of the last 18 months have shown that. But nor is it a job for those lacking heart. Coaches may call it guts or spine or commitment. Administrators may speak of principle, prudence, vision and resiliency. Call it mission. Call it whatever you want. Nebraska Wesleyan University has it, and it’s serving us well through tough times.