Cleveland State University has announced a series of actions to address the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fiscal year 2020 and 2021 budgets, and to position the university to succeed and grow in a new, post-COVID environment.
“To create a stronger CSU that best prepares us for post-COVID higher education realities, we need to take both immediate action and plan for additional, near-term changes that reinforces our commitment to engaged learning and service to our students as our highest priorities,” said CSU President Harlan Sands. “At times like these, we also need to continue to invest in ourselves in ways that advance our shared future. We are doing that today.”
CSU’s finances are being impacted by reductions in state funding, significantly reduced campus operations since early March, anticipated enrollment declines in fall 2020 and additional operating expenses from the pandemic response and shifting more than 2,000 courses to online teaching and learning. Fiscal year 2020 losses already exceed $8 million, and projected deficits for fiscal year 2021 could exceed $37 million.
“The CSU Board of Trustees fully supports the recommendations made by President Sands, and looks forward to working with him as he executes the plans laid out. We are confident that CSU will continue to be the anchor and beacon institution Cleveland needs to achieve our common goals,” said CSU Board of Trustees Chairman David Gunning.
Actions that will be implemented immediately include:
- 4-week staff furlough. Furloughed employees will continue to receive all CSU-provided benefits in addition to being eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and Federal CARES Act support.
- Temporary, stratified administrative salary reductions. For a period of six months, pay reductions will be implemented, as follows:
- President – 12.5%
- Salaries of $200,000 or greater – 10%
- Salaries of $150,000 - $199,999 – 8%
- Salaries less than $150,000 – 6%
- Hiring freeze. Recruitment efforts will be suspended for approximately 70 currently open staff positions.
- Reduced discretionary spending. Non-critical spending from discretionary accounts such as supplies and travel will be heavily restricted.
In addition to these immediate measures, CSU has created four areas for comprehensive review and study to identify further opportunities for growth, savings and improved efficiency.
While CSU’s finances are being directly impacted by the pandemic, the University is also taking measures to preserve its financial viability and invest in the future.
“Even in these challenging times, making strategic investments is critical to our long-term growth and success,” said President Sands.
CSU reaffirmed its commitment to hire up to 30 additional faculty in areas of growth such as computer science, information technology, health care and biomedical research, and introduced a new student recruitment and progression initiative called “the CSU 2-for-1 Tuition Promise”, where all incoming freshman will receive full funding for spring 2021 tuition after successful completion of the fall semester. Full details on the 2-for-1 Tuition Promise will be coming soon.
Details of these actions were shared with the CSU campus community in a message from President Sands today, following yesterday's meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees.