Facing $35 million in revenue loss by August, university rolls out new budget plan

(Archive Photo by Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Furloughs, salary reductions and suspensions to administrative leave are expected for Kansas State employees as the university addresses its budget shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a K-State Today Special Issue released Wednesday afternoon, President Richard Myers addressed the actions the university will take to make up for its anticipated $35 million revenue shortfall in fiscal year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we look to the fall semester and beyond it is imperative we move with urgency to take even more difficult steps to protect the financial state of the university,” Myers wrote.

The announcement says K-State has issued $8 million in Housing and Dining-related refunds to students, and summer classes will provide less revenue than usual — summer tuition and fees were lowered temporarily because all courses will be online.

Facing $35 million in lost revenue, Myers wrote that it is now the time to “make excruciating financial and budget choices.”

In the near future, the announcement says, K-State will implement more cost-saving measures on top of the existing policies like the university-wide hiring freeze, terminating most student worker appointments on May 16 and collecting savings from university-sponsored travel and utility budgets. The new budget steps mainly impact K-State faculty and staff.

Senior administrators, including Myers, Provost Charles Taber and cabinet members, will reduce their salaries by 10 percent in fiscal year 2021. This will “generate at least $800,000 in savings.”

Salary reductions will also occur for 42 K-State Athletics coaches and staff, and “planned” departmental budget cuts are part of other money-saving measures. These budget steps will save $3.5 million, according to the announcement.

Additionally, K-State plans to implement “targeted emergency furloughs for areas where there is an immediate or imminent lack of funding to continue operations.” The announcement says Human Capital Services will provide updated information for employees in regard to state and federal aid.

The last new budget step: Administrative leave use will be phased out by May 30.

The university anticipates sharing plans for the fall semester with the campus community soon, Myers wrote. He said he is hopeful for on-campus classes, however “there are certain conditions that must be met, including the widespread availability of testing, a sustained reduction of COVID-19 cases in our communities, and the ability to maintain physical distancing in work environments.”

I'm Dene Dryden, and I graduated in May 2020 with a Bachelor's of Arts in English. Before graduating, I worked at the Collegian for more than three years as a copy chief, managing editor and editor-in-chief. I also served a term on the Collegian Media Group Board of Directors. While at K-State, I also worked at Wildcat 91.1 FM. My cat Robyn is the light of my life, and I take compliments in the form of coffee.