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Fall Planning and Budget Outlook

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April 30, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

Today, we face the unprecedented challenge of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals and as an educational community, and I invite each of you to pause and recognize the staggering impact this crisis has had on all of us.

We know that even as we face inevitable personal challenges ahead, as a university community we must respond quickly and nimbly to ensure continued viability and strength. That means we must focus on our mission and our students while we consider how best to meet the demands of our budget in the coming year.

To that end, we are listening to the entire campus community as we make difficult decisions for the future of the university. Here is what we have heard:

  • All want student success, educational quality, and our mission to remain top priority.
  • All want to share the burden collectively and are willing to sacrifice.
  • All want to be innovative and create efficiencies that help us in the short- and long-term.

Thank you so much for your feedback and for contributing to these important conversations. As the end of the semester approaches, we want to share with you the university’s plans for the summer and coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

Planning for Summer and Fall

All summer classes will be online, and additional scholarships will be awarded to all students to offset the cost of their summer tuition. We are planning to resume face-to-face instruction and residence hall operation in the fall, while taking all the necessary precautions to modify our face to face instruction per social distancing guidelines and best practices. We will be prepared to deliver a hybrid or fully online education, if necessary, to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Decisions on events such as athletics are pending and will take into account recommendations from government and public health officials.

Budget Outlook

The University of La Verne has experienced a considerable financial impact as a result of the pandemic. Currently, we project losses of at least $15 million in the next fiscal year due to decreased revenue from enrollments, housing, dining, and students struggling with lost income. This number could grow if we are unable to resume face-to-face operations in the fall, open the residence halls, or fail to meet enrollment goals.

We rely on tuition, fees, room, and meal revenue to operate, and our largest expense is employee salaries, which means that reducing our budget to the extent necessary will impact our employees.

After discussions with the Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate, and campus community, we are implementing the measures below with the goal of minimizing the financial impact on students and preserving the vast majority of employee positions.

  • Reduce compensation for the President’s Cabinet and select staff
  • Reduce discretionary spending and operating funds
  • Suspend non-revenue generating travel
  • Reduce contingency, and capital renewal funds
  • Pause all hiring, except for mission-critical positions
  • Furlough some staff over the summer and periodically during the next fiscal year
  • Offer retirement incentives to qualifying faculty and staff
  • Delay faculty sabbaticals
  • Reduce faculty department chair compensation
  • Reduce faculty course releases and stipends
  • Increase class size, with safe social distancing

Additional measures remain under strong consideration, including:

  • Furlough staff and faculty earning over a certain compensation threshold for one week during FY 2020/21
  • Percentage reduction of the 403b retirement employer contributions

University Management Council members teach a course and faculty teach one additional course

Care for Our People

We know that our faculty and staff are anxious and concerned about decisions that will impact them. As we move forward, we will continue to be transparent about financial sustainability and the long-term health of the university. We will also continue to ask for a broad range of input on major decisions, and be guided in our actions by compassion, empathy, and care for all members of the university community.

The steps we are taking are difficult, but we are confident that better days are ahead. We will emerge from this crisis strong.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Sincerely,

Devorah Lieberman, PhD
President