Quinnipiac finances hit hard by COVID-19

Salary, spending cuts among measures to pay unexpected costs, including housing refund

Stephen MacLeod, Emily Flamme and Kalleen Rose Ozanic

The Office of President Judy Olian sent a letter to faculty and staff on March 23, detailing temporary payroll cuts, budget adjustments and the slowing of capital programs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“The pandemic is also impacting the finances of colleges and universities, including Quinnipiac,” the message said. “The far-reaching disruptions of COVID-19 have resulted in significant additional expenses for our university and lost revenues from programs and events that were canceled. In addition, the pandemic creates uncertainty in our future enrollment projections.”

Quinnipiac staff and faculty salaries university-wide will be subject to temporary cuts to minimize the impact of the university closure on overall finances. For faculty and staff earning less than $50,000 annually, there will be a 3% decrease in salary, and for all other employees, there will be a 5% decrease. These changes will be in effect on April 1 until June 30. President Olian and the members of the Management Committee are going to take a “larger reduction” in their salaries to reduce financial stress on the rest of the faculty and staff. 

Additionally, “there will be no merit increases in base salary for the academic year of 2020/2021,” though those who earned merit increases to their salary from the 2019-2020 academic year will not be affected. Further measures will be taken to limit expense budget expenditures. 

Unit heads and deans have already proposed plans that include expenditures only “mission critical for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year,” according to the letter. Capital programs or large expenditures will be limited in the future to divert necessary funds.

Janna Marnell

“These decisions were reached after extensive deliberations of the Management Committee, exploration of alternatives, and consultation with experts, Trustees, Faculty Senate leadership and members of our community,” the message said. “Undoubtedly, we will need to consider additional financial measures as we absorb the continuing impact of the pandemic around the world, in our country and specifically on QU.”

The university is still evaluating the impacts of the semester moving to online, but one major cost that these cuts are going toward is the refunds for housing and meal plan for graduating students and the credit being given to students returning, according to Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan. 

President Olian said that there will be more financial adjustments in the future to help mitigate the losses from the pandemic. She said she wants there to be “strong enrollments during summer sessions and in the first-year class entering in the fall.”

The university fell short of its enrollment goal by 570 students for the 2019-20 school year. The Quinnipiac Chronicle covered these cuts back in September. As a result, there were cuts to the part-time faculty, which reduced some course offerings. 

“Let me be clear, Quinnipiac can weather this crisis not just because of the collective power of our community, but also because of the long-term strength of our finances,” the message said. “However, because of the unprecedented magnitude of the impact, we will need to make budget cutbacks and even sacrifices.”

You can read the letter below: