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Christendom reopening without federal bailouts this fall

Christendom College in Front Royal is launching a special campaign to provide for students’ urgent financial needs this coming fall without the need for federal bailouts. The “Zero Federal Funding: Helping Catholic Students in Need” campaign will provide financial aid to students while allowing Christendom to continue teaching the fullness of the Catholic faith without inviting government interference. 

“During the COVID-19 health crisis, colleges and universities all over the country are receiving huge bailouts from the federal government’s $14 billion CARES Act stimulus to higher education institutions,” said Christendom President Timothy O’Donnell. “Catholic families deserve to know that here they can be sure the fullness of the Catholic faith is alive in the classroom, unhindered by the strings of federal money. We decided to launch our Zero Federal Funding campaign under the protection of our college patroness, Our Lady of Fatima, who has interceded for Christendom so much over the years. We encourage all to join us in prayer to Our Lady for the success of this campaign and for the health and protection of our entire Christendom family.”

Following on the college’s announcement that it will open on schedule this fall, this new campaign will help continue the college’s rejection of all federal funding —  a stance it has held since the college’s founding in 1977.

“Since our founding, we have not taken any federal aid whatsoever,” said O’Donnell. “This is a prudent decision, especially considering our cultural milieu that we’re all experiencing at this time. This is an age of unparalleled judicial activism, widespread rejection of tradition, and vicious challenging and attacking of the great Judeo-Christian moral consensus that has characterized the past 2,000 years. Our stance is possible because of generous donors who believe firmly and faithfully in our mission. Together with our dedicated and generous benefactors, we can meet our families’ needs."

“Christendom is rejecting $4.3 million or more in funds from the federal government, because we believe that our Catholic education must be free of government interference,” said Paul Jalsevac, vice president for advancement. “The next generation of young Catholic leaders are desperately needed in America today. With the help of generous benefactors, we will be able to help students affected economically by the coronavirus pandemic attend Christendom this fall, preparing them to go out into the world to help restore all things in Christ.”

Christendom, like schools across the country, transitioned to distance learning in March. The college refunded 100 percent of students’ room and board payments for the time they were off campus, totaling nearly $1.2 million.

The college is hoping to raise at least $250,000 for a special relief fund to ensure every student can return in the fall. These funds will provide extra financial aid support for families harmed by the pandemic. 

The college announced its plans May 13 to resume its on-campus, residential operations in the fall according to the college’s normal academic schedule. The decision was made considering Virginia’s phased plan to reopen the commonwealth. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020