Rutgers University is taking sweeping cost-cutting measures to help the university address the immediate fiscal challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and called for a budget for the coming fiscal year with no increase in tuition and fees, according to Rutgers University President Robert Barchi.
He and the university’s most senior leadership will take a 10 percent reduction in salary and that other senior leaders will reduce their pay by 5 percent. The president called for utilizing all appropriate reserve funds, as well as a freeze on all new major construction projects, among other steps.
President Barchi announced the cost-cutting measures in a letter at the end of April to the members of the university’s governing boards, faculty and administration. The changes follow other steps the state’s flagship university has already taken, including a university-wide hiring freeze, a ban on non-negotiated and out-of-cycle pay increases, and a ban on all discretionary travel and other expenses.
“Rutgers will weather this storm, but our university—and indeed all of higher education—confronts perhaps the greatest academic and operational challenge in its history,” President Barchi wrote.
“Although much remains to be determined about the coming budget year, one thing is certain—we cannot and will not close this gap on the backs of our students and their families. To that end, I am making this commitment today: we will recommend to the Board of Governors a 2021 budget that freezes undergraduate tuition and fees at their current levels,” he added.
The university has identified the potential for an estimated $200 million loss in the current quarter (April 1 through June 30, 2020) and expects more significant losses in the next fiscal year.
“Rutgers has a 250-year legacy of resilience. I have no doubt that Rutgers will evolve as an even stronger institution, but we face difficult immediate challenges and uncertain long-term issues that will require shared commitment, vision and sacrifice,” Dr. Barchi noted.
“Leadership starts at the top. I will immediately reduce my salary by 10 percent….The chancellors and executive vice presidents, as well as the athletic director and head coaches for football and men’s and women’s’ basketball will also take a 10 percent reduction in salary over the next four months. The roughly 100 senior administrators who comprise the University’s administrative council will similarly take a 5 percent pay cut over the same period,” he wrote.
Steps to close the deficit include:
- Utilization of the university’s reserve funds;
- A freeze on all new hires;
- No non-negotiated or out-of-cycle pay increases;
- A ban on university-sponsored travel;
- A stop to any new major construction projects and a review of active projects;
- A freeze on discretionary spending related to university operations, and
- A 10 percent pay cut for President Barchi, Rutgers chancellors and the university’s most senior leadership, and a 5 percent pay cut for 100 other leaders.