May 20, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff,
At the start of the spring semester, we communicated to campus that each academic and operating unit would be asked to develop planning scenarios for continuing budget cuts of 3%, 4% or 5% for fiscal year 2021-22.
In the past few months, college, school and campus support unit leaders met to review their scenarios for continuing budget cuts, to discuss the impact of potential cuts and to share their questions and concerns.
Yesterday, we shared the fiscal year 2021-22 budget projection scenarios with college, school and unit leaders. These budget projections scenarios, including the necessary cuts, will go into effect July 1, pending approval by the University of Colorado Board of Regents at the board’s June meeting.
These cuts are necessary as we anticipate a lower base budget due to the ongoing effects of lower fall 2020 enrollments that carry into next year and beyond, and the increased mandatory expenses such as financial aid and pay equity adjustments. The good news is that no unit will take a cut exceeding 3.5%. We remain true to the guiding principles we shared with you in October of 2020:
- Minimize impacts to our institutional mission by not cutting budgets more or sooner than necessary.
- Approach budget cuts strategically rather than implementing sweeping across-the-board cuts.
The expected budget cuts demonstrate the ongoing effects of a difficult past year, but the pandemic has also created space for us to reflect on priorities that remain important regardless of circumstances. We are using this time of transition to take bold, thoughtful steps toward implementing meaningful and necessary changes as we look to our future.
What we are doing
Positioning CU Boulder for a successful rebound from the pandemic while prioritizing safety and continued excellence in teaching, research and the student experience is complicated and challenging, but it would be completely impossible without the dedicated staff, faculty and students who make up our community.
As the Chancellor stated in his message on May 5, and through a combination of increased state funding, one-time federal dollars and a projected restoration of incoming enrollments to fall 2019 levels, we are taking action to invest in the shared success of our community:
Pay and wages
- The campuswide furloughs and temporary pay reductions for the 2020-21 fiscal year will end as planned on June 30. Impacted staff and faculty will see the restoration of their salary beginning with their July 31 paycheck.
- Pending CU Board of Regents approval of the 2021-22 fiscal year budget, the minimum wage at CU Boulder will increase to $15/hour effective July 1.
- Eligible university staff and faculty will receive a one-time, non-base-building payment, and classified staff will receive a 3% base-building increase effective July 1.
- We will buy down the regent-approved 3% tuition increase for graduate students, law students and incoming undergraduate students during the 2021-22 academic year.
- To assist our continuing undergraduate students and families, the undergraduate tuition guarantee will be extended for one year.
- We offered an incentive to colleges and schools to increase summer class offerings, resulting in an 18% increase in available classes to help students stay on track for degree completion.
Faculty and staff support
- We are committed to continuing to offer ongoing, flexible working options for staff, including flexible schedules and remote work options.
- To better support our faculty and staff members’ professional development opportunities this fall, class enrollment for faculty and staff using the tuition benefit will open seven days in advance of the first day of class.
While these investments will aid CU Boulder as we recover from the effects of the pandemic on our budget, we are not returning to the pre-pandemic “way of being.”
The pandemic showed us that we can act decisively, adapt quickly, learn deeply and create positive impacts under incredible constraints. It further revealed, however, that we have substantial work to do when it comes to structural equity. The Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Council, as well as projects like Academic Futures, the Budget Model Redesign and the Campus Master Plan, are already taking on this important work. We need to continue to seek out new ways of meeting our mission together, co-creating new structures and systems that will allow us to emerge from the setbacks we’ve endured, and also propel us––all of us––forward, together.
We are truly humbled by the creativity and dedication that continue to shine through your hard work and service to our students, to each other and the greater community. We offer you our deepest thanks for all you do.
Russell Moore, Provost
Patrick O’Rourke, Chief Operating Officer