Round-up of Higher Education Financial Planning Related to COVID-19 (updated June 18, 2020)

The shut-downs, lost revenue and added costs of COVID-19 have created financial hardships for colleges and universities of all sizes and in every sector. Many institutions have announced cut-backs, while others are planning to do so in the weeks and months ahead. We began to scan for campus announcements and news coverage to see what action steps are being taken and how college leaders are talking about their financial planning. As we assembled these resources, we thought they might be of value to colleagues around the country who are wrestling with similar issues.

We do not claim this is a comprehensive list; please let us know if you’d like to add something or see information that needs to be updated or corrected.

Selected Overview Stories

Inside Higher Education, 5/21/2020 — Colleges Lower the Boom on Retirement Plans

Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/14/20 — We’re Tracking Employees Laid Off or Furloughed by Colleges

Wall Street Journal, 4/30/20 – Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ About Education

ABC News, 4/28/2020 – Coronavirus pandemic brings staggering losses to colleges and universities

Wall Street Journal, 4/23/2020 — Public Colleges Lose State Funding, Effective Immediately

Washington Post, 4/23/2020 – Rising expenses, falling revenues, budget cuts: Universities face looming financial crisis

American Council on Education, 4/23/2020 – College and University Presidents Respond to COVID-19: April 2020 Survey; action steps include:

  • ID efficiency & cost-control measures
  • Freeze staff hiring
  • Defer capital projects
  • Freeze faculty hiring
  • Faculty workload adjustments
  • Laying off staff
  • Merging or eliminating academic programs
  • Declaring financial exigency
  • Laying off faculty

Chronicle of Higher Ed, 4/20/2020 – View: Under Covid-19, University Budgets Like We’ve Never Seen Before

Chronicle of Higher Ed 4/18/20 – Major Cost-Cutting Begins in Response to Covid-19, With Faculty and Staff Furloughs and Pay Cuts

Inside Higher Ed, 4/10/2020 — Here Come the Furloughs

Institutional announcements:

Appalachian State – Athletics 20% budget cut (cut 3 sports, hiring freeze, schedule locally)

Barnard College leadership restructuring (3 VPs eliminated), FY21 president 20% and provost 15% pay cuts, staff furloughs, FY21 budget reductions, hiring freeze, no merit increases for all employees (except union contracts)

Baylor University – Hiring freeze, postpone merit increases until 1/21, reduce BU retirement contribution (10.8% to 8%), budget reductions, adjunct faculty & temp employee reduced, capital projects postponement

Bentley University – President/provost donate 10% to student fund; reorganize classes to trimesters

Bob Jones University – staff furloughs

Boise State University – furlough days, president 2 weeks unpaid time off

Boston University – Hiring & pay freeze thru FY21 (except faculty promotions & bargained for), president & provost pay cut 20%, deans/VPs pay cut 10%, non-essential capital projects suspended

Bowdoin College – construction suspended, hiring freeze, president FY21 20% cut

Bowling Green State University – President 15% pay cut, senior administrators 10% cut, athletics coaches & admins tiered furlough days, 100 employees laid off or not-renewed, baseball program eliminated, 5-25% budget reductions, travel & hiring freezes

Brown University – hiring, salary freeze

Central Michigan University – tuition freeze, deferred payments, track & field program cut

City University of New York – departments to reduce course offerings by 25%, adjunct terminations (Brooklyn College); non-reappointment of 400 one-semester adjuncts (John Jay)

College of New Jersey – hiring freeze, delayed construction, terminated student employees

Columbia University – hiring freeze

Cornell University hiring & salary freeze; salary reductions by administrators, faculty & staff; capital projects pause; furloughs

Dartmouth University – staff hiring freeze, wage freeze, spending reductions

Davidson College – tuition deferment

Drew University – Staff furloughs

Duke University – suspend university FY21 retirement contributions, president 20%/3 execs 15%/300 highest paid 10% pay cuts, hiring freeze, no new non-salary expenditures, salary freeze more than $50,000 (less than receive one-time $1,000 payment), construction hold

East Carolina Universitysuspending university travel, eliminating four sports, cutting vacant positions, reducing athlete summer school, suspending staff conferences, reducing athletics travel

Eastern Michigan University – 200 non-bargained-for staff furloughs (reduced to 3- or 4-day weeks & 40%/20% pay cuts) thru 8/1/2020; positions eliminated; Presidents, execs, AD & 3 coaches 7% pay cut; travel frozen; capital projects suspended; non-bargained-for staff salaries frozen

Elmira College (New York) – eliminate six academic programs and three sports (20% staff reduction)

Emory UniversityPresident/execs/deans 15% pay cut thru 2020, hiring freeze, suspension of merit raises through August 2021, capital projects delays, imposing zero-based budgeting, limiting discretionary spending, eliminating activities and expenses not critical to the core missions of education and research

Florida Institute of Technology – staff reductions & furloughs, employee early retirement offer, Center for Textile Arts permanent building closure, elimination of football program

Fort Lewis Collegepresident 20% pay cut, hiring & travel freeze, spending reductions

Furman Universitypresident 20% pay cut, VPs/AD/2 coaches FY21 10% pay cut; furloughs (102 for 10 weeks, 763 (including 250 faculty) for two weeks in FY21); retirement contribution reduced 2.5 %; FY21 budgets cut 5.5%; baseball & men’s lacrosse discontinued; 45 athletics scholarships to be cut over five years; expense reduction; hiring & salary freeze; construction hold

George Washington University – hiring, salary & capital projects freeze; paused strategic planning; spending reductions; president and senior leadership FY21 pay cut

Georgetown University – suspend retirement contributions FY21, salary cuts volunteered by 54 leaders, voluntary furloughs or salary cuts, halt construction; hiring and salary freeze, reduce discretionary spending

Hampshire College (Massachusetts) – president salary cut 50%, FY21 operating budget 10% cut, faculty tiered salary cuts, faculty voluntary separation plan, sr admin salary cuts

Harvard Universitycanceled furloughs/layoffs, extending pay/benefits to idled staff & contractors beyond 6/28, voluntary early retirement program, voluntary vacation balance reduction, voluntary time reduction, president & executives salary cut 25%, salary & hiring freezes, discretionary spending suspended, capital projects deferred

Indiana University – borrow $1B, freeze staff hiring & salaries, limit travel and purchases, delay capital projects, ensuring full utilization of IU Foundation funds, reduce FY21 budget 5%

Iowa State University FY21 5% budget cut & FY22 additional, salary freeze, 5% budget cut coaches/staff 1-year pay cuts, bonuses suspended, delay in required seating donations & freeze on athletics tickets

Ithaca College – president & leaders salary cuts, voluntary leaves, 167 furloughs, suspend FY21 international travel & 2 dean searches, FY21 salary freeze

Johns Hopkins University – suspend retirement contributions one year, salary & hiring freeze, capital projects pause, president/provost 20% salary cut, deans/officers 10% cut, furloughs

Kansas State University –  president/cabinet/senior administrators 10% pay cut, furloughs, hiring freeze, reduce FY21 travel & professional development expenses, reduce FY21 utility costs, athletics salary reductions

Lincoln University (Missouri)declared financial exigency

Marquette University – furloughs, spending reduced, hiring & salary freeze

Massachusetts Institute of Technology – hiring freeze, reduce expenses, merit increases suspended, president/provost 20% cut

Miami University (Ohio)non-renewal of contingent faculty contracts, president 25% pay cut, senior leaders 10% pay cut

Michigan State University considering FY21 campus-wide salary reductions & reducing retirement contributions; 3% FY21 campus-wide budget reduction; furloughs; tightening hiring chill, reduce consultants; tuition freeze, construction & major equipment purchases delayed, discretionary expenses reduced, president 10% pay cut, other executives 2-7% cut

Missouri State University – hiring freeze, leadership pay cuts

Missouri Western State Universitydeclared financial exigency, cut some tenured faculty, reduce dozens of majors/minors, add six new programs, athletics expense cuts

Montana State University — hiring freeze

Montclair State University – close a school (return property to state), eliminating temporary positions, hiring & travel freeze, furloughs, chilled purchasing, deferred maintenance & construction  

Northwestern University – increase rate of endowment draw, president (20%) & leaders (10-20%) pay cuts, suspend NU retirement contributions, 250 furloughs; staff hiring freeze and slow faculty hiring, pause all facilities projects, salary freeze, defer discretionary spending

Ohio State University – hiring freeze, slowing of capital projects

Ohio University – President & provost pay cut 15% & forego performance bonuses, layoffs, faculty non-renewal of contracts, hiring freeze, suspend new capital projects, suspend employee awards, reduce expenses & purchases, 53 faculty not renewed, 74 faculty voluntary retirement, 94 admins & 140 service employees laid off, FY21 tiered furlough leave days, other leaders & coaches 10% pay cut


Old Dominion University – cutting some sports

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Ed – retirement incentives, limit adjuncts, eliminate small programs, hiring and tuition freeze

Penn State Universityfurloughs/pay cuts, president giving 10% salary to employee & student assistance funds; capital projects delayed, tuition freeze

Princeton University – salary freeze, hiring chill, decrease temporary and contracted staff, reduce non-essential spending, reallocate staff

Quinnipiac 3-5% pay cuts for all employees; larger cuts for top administrators

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – President/executivess 5% cut, reduce discretionary expenses, hiring and salary freeze, halt faculty sabbaticals, reduce fixed-term employees, staff furloughs

Rutgers University – freeze tuition, hiring and salaries; president/executives/athletic director/3 coaches 10% cut for 4 months, other leaders 5% cut; new capital projects stopped; discretionary spending suspended

Siena College – president-elect 25% pay cut, 75 furloughs, suspend retirement contribution

Southern New Hampshire University – lowering tuition 61%

St. Edward’s University – University reorganization (10% cut in employee positions, consolidation of five academic schools into four programs, reduction in housing occupancy, student health services outsourced, discontinuation of five athletic programs), president/VPs pay cuts, athletic programs cuts

Stanford University – president/provost 20% pay cut, other leaders 5-10% cut, salary freeze, hiring pause, reduce discretionary spending, reevaluate major projects, FY21 budget cuts (10-15%), possible FY21 furloughs or layoffs

State University of New York – hiring freeze; reduced travel, construction & supplies

Syracuse University – executives/deans/3 coaches 10% pay cut, hiring & salary freeze, 5% cut to budgets, new capital projects stopped

Temple University – tuition freeze; president 10% pay cut, leaders 5% cut, employees paid more than $100,000 5% cut; 5% budget cuts FY21

Texas Christian Universityexecs & coaches salary cuts, hiring freeze, FY21 budget 20% cut, benefits options reduced, university retirement contribution reduced to 8%

University of Akroncut 6 of 11 colleges, president & senior officials FY21 10% pay cut, hiring freeze, 20% budget cut athletics, 20% cut FY21 expenditures, cut three sports

University of Alaska – furloughs including top leaders, eliminate 39 academic departments

University of Arizonafurloughs, pay cuts

University of Arkansas-Fayetteville hiring and salary freeze, reduced discretionary spending

University of Arkansas- Little Rock13 faculty cut, 2 of 5 colleges cut, building closures

University of California (system) – president & chancellors 10% pay cut; FY21 non-academic salary freeze, hiring freeze, FY21 budget cuts by campus, expense reduction, renegotiate service agreements

University of California – Berkeley – Pay freeze

University of California – San Francisco hiring freeze

University of ChicagoFY21 president/provost/EVP 15% salary cut, deans/officers 8-10% salary cut, voluntary staff furloughs/hours reduction, mandatory staff furloughs, reduce/suspend retirement contributions, freeze on tuition, housing, fees; FY21 salaries & hiring freeze; discretionary spending suspended; 10% non-personnel spending reductions, furloughs, capital projects postponement

University of Cincinnatipresident & execs 10% pay cut through FY21, hiring & salary freeze, spending cuts, construction suspended, cut a sport

University of Colorado – Denverfurloughs (12 to 26 days), tuition freeze

University of Dayton446 furloughs, 60 positions eliminated, salary freeze FY21, pause university contributions to retirement

University of Delawarehiring freeze, capital projects reevaluation, travel ban, non-critical spending suspended (including consultants), in-person programs before 8/1 canceled or moved online

University of Denverstaff layoffs & furloughs; FY21 salary cuts for those higher than $90,00; reduce retirement contributions; hiring and construction freeze; elimination of car and cellphone allowances; reduction in travel, food and events

University of Evansvillepresident 20% pay cut, 100 furloughs, freeze FY21 non-essential travel, staff hiring freeze, suspend U retirement contributions, staff salaries more than $54,000 5% cut, faculty encouraged for voluntary pay reductions

University System of Georgia – tuition freeze, salary-based furloughs days, chancellor/presidents 10% pay cut, 14% FY21 budget cut

University of Idahohiring freeze, limit overtime

University of Iowa – budget decisions made at the unit level

University of Kansas – hiring & salary freezes, 40 leaders 10% salary cut for 6 months

University of Kentucky – furloughs, 10% budget cuts, canceled raises, paused hiring, reduced retirement contributions, contingency funds to avoid previously announced layoffs,

University of Louisville furloughs, suspend retirement contributions, pay cuts, hiring freeze, spending reductions

University of Maryland hiring freeze, reduced spending

University of Michiganpay cuts (EVP medicine 20%, president & 2 chancellors 10%, other executive officers 5%), halt non-essential expenses (travel, conferences, consultants), hiring & salary freeze, voluntary furloughs, postpone construction, furlough & layoffs for 1400 medicine employees

University of Minnesota hiring & salary freeze, 200 leaders pay cut equivalent to a one-week furlough; president & cabinet additional 10% salary cut 

University of Missouri – executives & deans & others 10% pay cut, hiring & salary freeze, employee changes to create 15% reduction

University of Montanafurloughs, president donating 25% salary back & others are making volunteer donations

University of Nebraska – hiring freeze, reduce expenditures 3%, limiting travel & major purchases, reevaluate capital projects

University of New Haven – pay cuts, furloughs of 173 employees, hours reduced, expense reductions, capital projects deferred, suspension of employer retirement contributions, salary cuts (3-9%)

University of Oregon – hiring freeze, president 12% salary cut, VPs & deans & AD 10% salary cut, furloughs

University of Pennsylvania – hiring freeze, merit increase only for those below $70,000, no new temporary or student staff, overtime restricted, reduced spending, pause capital projects, prioritize use of donor restricted funds

University of Pittsburgh – president 20% salary cut, executives 10% donated to student emergencies

University of Rochester – hiring & salary freeze, overtime reduction, furloughs, president & executives 18% pay cut, new construction hold

University of South Carolinapresident/senior cabinet/AD/3 coaches FY21 10% pay cut, construction delay, hiring chill, maintenance deferred, faculty merit raises postponed, employee OT cut

University of Southern Californiapresident 20% pay cut, execs/deans 10% pay cut, hiring & salary freeze, construction & discretionary spending pause

University of Texas (Austin)furloughs, layoffs, end use of emergency leave for out-of-work employees, reevaluate hiring, salary freeze

University of Vermont interim 3-month budget, tuition freeze

University of WashingtonMedicine furloughs (1 to 8 weeks), sr leadership pay cuts (10-20%), construction suspended, hiring & discretionary spending freeze, furloughs, FTE reduction

University of Wisconsintiered campus-wide furloughs (3-6 days), president/provost/vice chancellor 15% pay cuts, reduction in hours w/ shared work, freeze travel, reduce expenses, defer infrastructure projects, partial hiring & salary freeze

Valparaiso Universityfurloughs/pay cuts, president 30% pay cut

Vanderbilt University – hiring reviews, discretionary spending suspended, voluntary departure incentives, merit increases deferred, major projects reviewed, expense reduction

Vermont State Collegesproposal to close 3 campuses, lay-offs

Villanova University – president, 60 leaders & Augustinian friars 10% pay cut 2 months, reduction in retirement contributions, salary & hiring freeze, construction suspended, reduced discretionary spending

Virginia Tech University—Hiring freeze

Washington University (St. Louis) – 90-day furloughs, 3 executives pay cuts 15-20%, hiring & salary freeze, expense reductions, capital projects delayed

Wayne State University – consultants & hiring approved by president, non-essential spending cut, furloughs, possible program cuts FY21

West Virginia University – limit spending & hiring, president & executives donating back 10% of salary, add fundraising day (May 5 #GivingTuesdayNow), furloughs

Western Michigan Universitytuition freeze, 240 service staff layoffs, 20% spending cut for each division, 25% pay cut for athletic director, football & hockey coaches; FY21 president & leadership 10% pay cut, associates through deans 5% cut, all non-bargained for staff 2.25% pay cut; construction & hiring freeze

Yale University – FY21 5% budget reduction, hiring & salary freeze, pause capital projects & $300 million reduction over 2 years, suspend travel & discretionary spending


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *