To: OSU Faculty and Staff
From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President
November 2, 2020
We write to inform you that effective Dec. 1, 2020, the university will suspend the temporary salary reduction program for professional and academic faculty. Upon suspension, the program will have been in place for four months and saved $4.2 million, which helped forestall some reductions to programs and employment that would otherwise have been necessary.
In our message of Aug. 17, 2020 announcing the implementation of the program, we communicated that we would review our budget forecasts in November to assess the need for its continuation. Based on our fourth week enrollment census, the university estimates the Corvallis Education and General (E&G) Budget will see an FY21 shortfall of approximately $40 million, an improvement of $15 million from our August forecast of a $55 million shortfall. The predicted budget gap has narrowed as a result of stronger fall enrollment and higher tuition and fees earnings than we originally forecasted. The gap is such that at this time we believe we can close it without continuing the salary reductions.
Salary reductions for senior academic and administrative leaders that have been in place since July 1 will be suspended on Jan. 1, 2021, after saving $891,000. Because financial conditions in OSU Athletics remain extremely challenging, salary reductions for senior administrators and professional faculty within OSU Athletics and all coaches will remain in effect through June 30, 2021.
We want to emphasize how important it is that we continue to restrain spending. Within Corvallis campus and other related statewide university operations, the following actions will continue in order to close the $40 million gap: reduced spending on facility improvements, services and supplies; reduced personnel costs through delayed hiring and programs that address areas with reduced work; and the strategic use of reserve funds. OSU-Cascades will continue to reduce spending significantly as well, as it also faces an FY21 shortfall.
Our better-than-expected fall enrollment is in large measure due to the strength of our programs; the recruitment and admissions efforts of our enrollment management team; the hard work of our faculty and graduate assistants to deliver quality instruction across multiple teaching modalities; and the efforts of staff in the colleges, Student Affairs, Undergraduate Education, the Graduate School, Ecampus, INTO OSU and other units to orient, advise and support students in these very difficult conditions.
Our success in pivoting to remote teaching in spring, and the remarkable efforts of all to prepare for a more robust and impactful remote teaching experience in fall, could not have been accomplished without the help of all university colleagues, including those that prepared and modified our classrooms and labs, procured personal protective equipment, procured and installed improved information technology, and provided ongoing campus and facility operations and public safety programs. Their hard work and sacrifices are much appreciated.
Because of continuing uncertainty related to the pandemic, we will review and revise our FY21 budget forecast again in mid-February. At this time, we are optimistic that the Corvallis E&G gap will not widen enough to necessitate the need to restart the salary reduction program upon the February review. However, much will depend on whether our fall students continue their studies into winter term and enrollment remains robust.
Thank you for your understanding of the original need for temporary salary reductions as one part of our efforts to deal with unprecedented budget challenges, and for working so hard to continue delivering OSU’s research, education and public engagement missions.
Provost and Executive Vice President
Vice President for Finance and Administration