Next week, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will review initial operating budget recommendations for the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year (FY21) from University President Joan Gabel. The University community and members of the public will also have an opportunity to respond to the proposed budget during a public comment period beginning on May 1 and continuing through June 2.
Amid the ongoing global response to COVID-19 and the eventual recovery from the pandemic, the University, like many of its peer higher education institutions, is experiencing significant financial challenges and anticipates additional revenue loss and increased expenditures. At a series of special meetings in April, the Board discussed early forecasts and potential scenarios depending on when the University may be able to return to more regular operations.
In response to this uncertainty, the operating budget for FY21 will be presented as a tiered approach. Gabel will ask the Board to approve a balanced budget predicated on the assumption the University can generally return to regular operations by the start of the fall semester (referred to in docket materials as the COVID-19 Adjusted Budget). In addition to this core budget recommendation, Gabel will discuss with the Board two frameworks for contingency budget plans, one based on reduced operations continuing into the fall semester and another based on reduced operations throughout the entire fall semester.
Gabel will present to the Board’s Finance & Operations Committee on Thursday the revenue opportunities and cost reduction measures she recommends for addressing the budget shortfall. In accordance with Board policy, these recommendations must be considered before voting on a final operating budget at a later meeting, expected in June.
During its April meetings, the Board discussed steps that Gabel and her administration have already taken, including a 10 percent pay cut for her cabinet and herself starting in FY21 and continuing until the University returns to normal operations. Nearly 200 senior leaders have also voluntarily agreed to forgo a week of salary before June 30 of this year, and salaries and bonuses are frozen for all employees throughout the University system for the coming fiscal year, with the exception of labor-represented faculty and staff units with collective bargaining agreements.
Public Invited to Submit Comments on the Budget
All members of the University community and the public are invited to provide input on the proposed budget. Comments can be submitted online at https://regents.umn.edu/fy-2021-annual-operating-budget-feedback-form.
Comments received by 12 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2 will be included in the public docket for the Board’s June meeting.
As part of its May meetings, the Board is also expected to:
- Review the recommended annual capital improvement budget for FY21.
- Discuss a draft systemwide strategic plan, the first of two scheduled Board conversations on the topic.
- Hear from Gopher Athletics Director Mark Coyle, who will share the impact the pandemic has had on Gopher Athletics and what his department is forecasting for the future.
- Hear from Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the medical school and vice president for clinical affairs, who will present to the Board the challenges—financial and otherwise—facing the University’s Medical School and academic health enterprise.
- Act upon recommendations for faculty promotion, tenure and annual continuous appointments.
For more information, including future meeting times, visit regents.umn.edu.
- Campus Affairs