Fiscal Realities Resulting From COVID-19

Over the past several weeks, as the USF community has navigated this global pandemic, we have been inspired by the care, concern, and solidarity so many of you have shown for the well-being of students and colleagues.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Over the past several weeks, as the USF community has navigated this global pandemic, we have been inspired by the care, concern, and solidarity so many of you have shown for the well-being of students and colleagues. We continue to collect and publish stories of our community members who have supported each other and people in the Bay Area and beyond. You can read some of them here, here, and here.

Since the initial onset of this crisis, our priorities have been clear: the health and safety of every member of our community and the continuity of instruction and development support for our students. The USF Board of Trustees reaffirmed these priorities at its meeting last week.  Trustees were resoundingly supportive of everything our community has accomplished together in response to this crisis. In fact, the trustees unanimously approved the creation of an emergency fund, to be established through their personal  philanthropy, with an initial target of $1 million in support of our students and USF’s efforts. More details on this will be provided shortly.

The pandemic has forced us to change the nature of our operations and face the uncertainty surrounding our fall enrollments and the future of the global economy. Together, we must consider how we will manage the great project that is the University of San Francisco — for the remainder of this fiscal year 2020, and also for fiscal year 2021 and beyond. Many of our peer institutions have announced layoffs, furloughs, or other belt-tightening measures. Some have announced closure.
 
We have the challenge of providing more than $7 million in refunds before the end of this fiscal year for prorated housing and dining to students no longer living on campus. We also are facing an unexpected loss in revenue in other areas such as Koret fees, summer housing, and summer conferences. Nevertheless, we are confident in the strength of our operations and our shared mission to manage and emerge from this crisis if we work together.
 
To that end, cabinet members have agreed to the following:

  • Limit, to the greatest extent possible, general operating expenditures that are no longer necessary given our new ways of working remotely;
  • Freeze staff and faculty hiring, unless an exception is granted by the divisional vice president to hire for a position deemed essential;
  • Defer the salary increases for members of the cabinet and leadership team until at least fall census, in potential fiscal year 2021 savings
  • Deactivate university procurement cards for a period of time, at the direction of divisional vice presidents, to encourage spending holds; card holders will be notified by their vice presidents
  • Freeze facilities projects that the City of San Francisco has deemed non-essential; and
  • Encourage supervisors and employees to use vacation time, if their workloads allow.

We must continue to fund efforts that secure the health, well-being, and safety of our community members. Additionally, we must continue to fund marketing and recruitment efforts designed to meet enrollment targets in the next academic year.  We do not want to see enrollment shortfalls in undergraduate or graduate programs.
 
At Fr. Fitzgerald’s direction, we have assembled working groups to defend and promote the university’s revenue streams in the next fiscal year and plan for expense reductions should the university experience significant declines in net revenue due to the coronavirus epidemic and a possible economic recession. These working groups include:

  • Continuity of Operations Group: charged with developing scenarios related to potential fiscal year 2021 enrollment shortfalls and increases in financial aid, outlining possible expense reductions, and developing plans to engage with stakeholders that will be impacted by these hypothetical expense reductions. Charlie Cross, chief financial officer and vice president for business and finance, will lead this group.
  • Summer 2020 Group: charged with developing and implementing strategies and tactics for protecting the university’s approximately $28 million in planned summer 2020 net tuition, delivering a quality learning experience to our students. Jeff Hamrick, vice provost for institutional budget, planning, and analytics, will lead this group.
  • Fall 2020 Group: charged with developing and implementing strategies and tactics for meeting the university’s fall 2020 new and continuing undergraduate enrollment targets, despite tremendous uncertainties induced by the coronavirus epidemic. The group will also address graduate enrollment outcomes and professional certificate programming. Michael Beseda, vice provost for strategic enrollment management, will lead this group.

These groups will collaborate with cabinet and other groups, such as the Continuity of Instruction Group.

We remain a community with core commitments to provide a high-quality, humanistic Jesuit education, to care for one another and the broader community, and to prepare graduates who will change our world for the better. We are resilient, and we are heartened that so many of you are willing to make immediate sacrifices to support our mission both now and in the future.
 
Sincerely,
 
Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., President
 
Opinder Bawa, Vice President, Information Technology Services
Michael Beseda, Vice Provost, Strategic Enrollment Management
Tyrone Cannon, Interim Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs
Charlie Cross, Vice President, Business and Finance
Donna Davis, General Counsel
Jeff Hamrick, Vice Provost, Institutional Budget, Planning, and Analytics
Donald Heller, Vice President, Operations
Shirley McGuire, Senior Vice Provost, Academic Affairs
Pamela Balls Organista, Interim Vice Provost and Special Assistant to the Provost
Julie Orio, Vice President, Student Life
Ellen Ryder, Vice President, Marketing Communications
Peter Wilch, Vice President, Development

Tuesday, Mar 31