The Ithaca College Board of Trustees approved the revised fiscal budget for the 2020–21 year, which includes a projected $13 million deficit.
Bill Guerrero, vice president for finance and administration, said in an email to The Ithacan that the approved gross number for the budget is $287 million, which includes a financial aid number of $113 million. The board first approved the 2020–21 fiscal budget in June before the college decided to hold classes remotely for Fall 2020. At this time, the board approved a $189 million net revenue operating budget for the 2020–21 fiscal year. This was a $28 million decrease from the forecast amount for the previous fiscal year. The original 2020–21 fiscal budget dedicated $127 million to unfunded institutional financial aid. The 2019–20 fiscal budget was $360.4 million.
More details about the revised budget will be provided at the InFinity meeting at noon Oct. 30.
In an Oct. 26 email to the college community, President Shirley M. Collado and Dave Lissy ’87, chair of the board of trustees, announced that in addition to approving the budget, the board of trustees discussed issues facing the college community, the implementation of the strategic plan and the Spring 2021 reopening. The board met virtually from Oct. 22 to 23.
The budget was revised because of the ongoing health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to accelerate Ithaca Forever, the college’s strategic plan, the email stated. The revised budget reflects the lost room and board costs of the remote fall semester, lost auxiliary revenue and a loss of $7 million in COVID-19–related expenses. This is a $6 million increase in COVID-19 related expenses from June, the email stated.
The revised budget has a projected $13 million deficit, which is primarily made up of the $7 million in COVID-19 expenses, the email stated. This includes testing costs for when the college reopens in Spring 2021.
The college is currently facing an $8 million budget deficit, and it will likely increase when the college reopens because of startup costs and COVID-19 testing, La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said in an Oct. 20 interview.
The college and the Institutional Effectiveness and Budget Committee are now working to provide a budget for the 2021–22 fiscal year in May 2021, the email stated.
Members of the senior leadership team also provided updates to the board about their work.
Collado spoke about the implementation of Ithaca Forever, and Cornish spoke about the academic prioritization process.
Hayley Harris, vice president of the Office of Human and Organizational Development and Planning, and Guerrero spoke about nonacademic program review and the college’s finances.
Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life; Christina Moylan, director of public health emergency preparedness; and Tim Carey, associate vice president for the Office of Facilities, spoke about the Return to Campus Plan and preparations for Spring 2021.
The board also created the Marketing and Enrollment Strategy Committee, which will work with Laurie Koehler, vice president for marketing and enrollment strategy, to address the college’s issues with enrollment.
Enrollment has decreased from 5,852 undergraduate students in Fall 2019 to 4,957 in Fall 2020, according to the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research. More students took leaves of absence or deferred their enrollment for Fall 2020 than in previous years.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place Feb. 10–12, 2021, on campus.