FY21 Budget and Mitigation Plan Update

Dear St. Thomas Faculty and Staff,

In August, the Scenario Planning Steering Committee committed to update our community with a revised budget forecast as of Oct. 1. The headline: We are not out of the woods yet, but good news in our fall enrollment numbers lowered our best-case annual deficit to $16.7 million and our worst-case projection to $45.5 million. The current mitigation plan in place will offset the $16.7 million. Full details are below.

On Sept. 22, the university passed the important 10th day of classes, the official marker of fall enrollment numbers. Fall enrollment details can be found in the Newsroom story here, and a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the key facts can be found here.

While enrollment remains down from the original Fiscal Year 21 (FY21) budget, both undergraduate and graduate tuition beat assumptions compared to the Sept. 1 budget projection. Thank you to the many faculty and staff across the university who have worked incredibly hard to achieve this result. Enrollment numbers are certainly meaningful, but even more importantly, each day we hear gratitude from our students, many of whom are learning and living on campus, that they are able to make progress on their degrees.

As of Oct. 1, we have a total projected loss of $16.7 million for FY21. This is an improvement of $1.7 million from our Sept. 1 projection. While tuition revenue came in higher than projected in September, we continue to fall short of revenue projections in other areas such as room and board, dining cash sales, parking services, campus stores, etc. Details are in the PowerPoint presentation here.

It feels good to see our deficit projection slightly shrinking, but we are acutely aware that we have more uncertain months ahead of us. Since we are now one-third of the way through the year, we are revising our worst-case scenario projections from a deficit of $60 million to $45.5 million. This means projected losses from our scenarios now range from $16.7 million to $45.5 million for the fiscal year.

Given the larger context, these results are encouraging. We are hopeful that we can continue current operations through fall and into spring and, therefore, maintain a deficit on the low end of the range. The mitigation plan adopted in May 2020 (which recommended staff salary reductions and employee retirement plan suspensions beginning May 15, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, and faculty salary reductions beginning Sept. 1, 2020, through April 15, 2021) ensures that St. Thomas can cover the $16.7 million loss. It’s too soon to know whether additional action might be needed should projected losses rise toward the higher end of the estimate range.

We will send another communication once the Nov. 1 budget projection is complete. The university will also host a Town Hall to recap discussions from the board meeting on Nov. 5. The Town Hall will include an update on the 2025 strategic plan as well as the mitigation plan.

If you have additional questions, our committee has started an FAQ page on our OneStThomas site found here. On that page you can also find a link to send in additional questions if you have them. We will note all questions and seek themes in order to post answers to additional questions on the minds of our community.

Thank you for everything you are doing to move St. Thomas forward. There is reason to be cautiously optimistic, but, as we’ve seen throughout this unprecedented year, circumstances can quickly change so we need to stay vigilant.

 

Warm regards,

 

Richard Plumb, EVP and Provost, committee co-chair

Mark Vangsgard, CFO, committee co-chair

Ed Clark, Chief Innovation Technology Officer

Al Cotrone, VP Enrollment

Abigail Crouse, Associate General Counsel

MayKao Y. Hang, VP and Founding Dean of the Morrison Family College of Health

Kevin Henderson, Professor, Opus College of Business

Nora Fitzpatrick, AVP, Financial Planning and Budgeting

Marty Johnston, Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Karen Julian, Chief Data Officer

Karen Lange, VP Student Affairs

Kymm Martinez, VP Marketing, Insights and Communications

Amy McDonough, Chief of Staff to the President

Sandra Menssen, Associate Dean, School of Education

Erin Muckerheide, Interim AVP Human Resources

Wendy Wyatt, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs