...With the $25 million from donors -- $7 million of which has been paid, and the rest of which is committed – and the expected $15 million from property sales, Calvin expects its debt will shrink from $115 to $75 million by 2017. If that pans out, the debt payments will rise to just about $7 million a year – an $800,000 increase rather than a $3.3 million increase.
Calvin said its success came despite what advisers said the college could expect. One adviser, Bruce Dreon, is a partner at the fund-raising consulting firm Bentz Whaley Flessner. Dreon said he cautioned Calvin about how challenging it is to raise money to reduce debt and the potential problem of using so much of its donor base for debt.
“They were too smart to take my advice and they went out and did something quite challenging,” Dreon said.
Calvin, though, may prove an exception to the rule, he said, because colleges are going to have to demonstrate their financial house is in order to successfully raise money.
“In my experience, it’s very difficult to raise money for debt; it’s not something that most prospects get excited about," Dreon said. "Obviously, Calvin is an exception to the rule."
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