Assessing COVID-19 financial impacts
April 23, 2020 10:01 AM

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past month, we have achieved a relatively stable COVID-19 operational status as a university, and we are well-positioned to maintain that stability through the end of the semester.

Clearly this pandemic will have significant and lingering economic impacts locally, statewide and nationally. So far, based on projections into this July, the estimated financial COVID-19 costs to our university in terms of additional expenditures, lost revenue and fee adjustments exceed $70 million. And with the pandemic effects expected to linger for months, it is likely all of our traditional funding sources will see negative impacts in the years ahead. We will continue to prioritize efforts to protect the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff and to protect our ability to deliver on our teaching, scholarship and engagement missions. 

COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our university operations. But collectively, in the space of weeks, we have come together to navigate a path through this. We will ask for the same collective effort and commitment to proactively manage the financial challenges that the pandemic will set for us.

Our actions during this time have been designed to protect our community, and we continue to steward our resources responsibly. We are continuing to allow hiring under a set of new guiding principles and with some additional review processes. These principles include financial parameters that need to be met. We are closely monitoring the fiscal health of all campus units. And we are focusing resources on financial planning and forecasting. This includes tuition modeling, evaluating multiple state funding scenarios and quantifying revenues that might be lost either temporarily or permanently.

As it has done with so many other aspects of our operations, COVID-19 has introduced new uncertainty into our financial status. But it is most certainly necessary for us to carefully evaluate our current situation, model for a wide range of possible future scenarios and manage our resources with even greater strategy and care.

We have plenty of institutional experience in managing budget challenges. And it was sound fiscal management across the entire university that saw us continue to move forward and upward through those challenges.

As we get more clarity about both short- and long-term economic impacts of the pandemic and as we implement actions to mitigate them, we will share that information with the campus community.


Robert J. Jones

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