Updated April 28, 2020, 4:30 p.m.
How has the coronavirus shutdown affected finances for the University of Missouri?
There is a lot of pressure on the University of Missouri’s financial situation. Through past hardships, the university has consistently demonstrated the skill and resourcefulness needed to find a productive path forward and to strategically protect and continue our core mission to serve our students and the state of Missouri.
Will faculty and staff be consulted on budget decisions?
The university has been and remains committed to a highly collaborative decision-making process. In the middle of February, a representative from each school and college joined representatives from the Office of Research and all other campus units, including Faculty Council and Staff Advisory Council, to discuss the financial impact of COVID-19. Collaboration will continue as this situation evolves and more decisions need to be made.
What funding shortfall is the university facing?
The full extent of the shortfall remains unknown. The state is withholding $36.5 million this fiscal year across the UM System, and MU has prioritized returning $15 million to students and families for room and board and other refunds. It is possible that losses could reach $180 million across the UM System’s four universities for FY21 and beyond. MU is still determining how the university may benefit from state and federal stimulus funds.
For more information about the financial impacts of COVID-19, please review the April 14 letter from President Choi to UM System faculty and staff.
What cuts are likely for the university?
In late March, the UM System temporarily suspended hiring, pay raises and most new spending. Other cost-cutting actions must be taken as the university comprehensively assesses its current and future financial situation. Both short-term solutions to help MU mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and long-term solutions to sustain the university going forward are being considered.
The Missouri House of Representatives approved a relief package that includes almost $140 million for the UM System. How does this impact the University of Missouri’s budget moving forward?
It takes time to understand the expectations that go along with any federal or state funding. At this point, the university is still uncertain how much will be available and for what purposes. The university is working with its leaders to make strategic and sustainable decisions about how to move forward as an institution and fulfill its mission.
How is the university handling Missouri residency?
This year the university will be awarding provisional residency for students who, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, are not able to meet the full requirements. Provisional residency will be granted to students who are not claimed as dependents on their parents’ or guardians’ 2019 income taxes and fulfill at least one other residency requirement. They are not expected to earn $2,000 in income or live in Missouri this summer. We also do not expect them to return to Columbia by May 16 nor will we limit them to only 14 days out of Missouri. They will pay in-state fees for the 2020-21 academic year and can apply again next year to gain full residency. Visit the Office of the University Registrar’s website for more details.
With the switch to a virtual Summer Welcome, how can we obtain a refund of the amount we paid for Summer Welcome?
Refunds are being processed for those who paid for guest housing and meals at Summer Welcome. The $300 enrollment fee is not a payment for orientation; it is required of all new, degree-seeking students to enroll in classes.
Will there be partial refunds for students who paid for “in-person” classes now that they have moved online?
The university has refunded some fees, such as providing a 45% discount for residential halls and providing a partial refund of the activity fee. Tuition pays for the salaries of professors as well as many services that students can continue to use through online means, including advising and the Student Success Center.
Does MU anticipate recent state funding cuts will force increased tuition fees or cuts to student grants/aid for the coming fall session?
The university is very sensitive to the impact tuition increases would have for our students and families and would consider any increase very carefully. We are doing everything we can to mitigate the financial impacts on students and their families due to this crisis.
Have there been any discussions or work done in helping students and parents manage off-campus housing expenditures?
Off-campus housing units are not managed by the university and operate under their own contracts. The university is working with students who want to sublease as an option. The Office of Off-Campus Services has created a platform for students to find apartments and sublease opportunities.
Current students, those enrolled during the 2019-2020 academic year, who experience unexpected housing costs related to COVID-19 may be eligible for grants through the federal CARES Act Emergency Funds for which Mizzou has applied. For more information on CARES Act Emergency Funds, visit the Student Financial Aid website.
How will scholarships be affected if a student decides not to return to Mizzou in the fall? Can the scholarship be deferred?
The university will honor any scholarships already offered to students. It reviews scholarships on a regular basis and will adjust them as necessary.
Why are some students being charged back the cost of a scholarship we accepted once we have moved out of the dorms and received the discount?
Some students receive institutional grants and scholarships that pay the on-campus housing portion of a student’s bill. For those students, any housing refunds would result in an adjustment to their scholarship. The students wouldn’t receive a refund because they did not pay for housing.
Will graduate students be able to return to their graduate assistantships this coming fall, and do you anticipate lifting the hiring freeze for graduate assistantships?
Graduate students are critical to the university’s research mission. The university expects students who hold graduate assistantships to continue working. However, budget constraints will change the way new offers are approved. Any new assistantship offer must be approved by the dean’s office or head of a non-academic unit prior to extending it.