Old Dominion University President John Broderick sent a letter to students announcing that tuition will be frozen during the 2020-2021 school year to ease any financial burdens.
Old Dominion University’s Board of Visitors voted today to freeze tuition for 2020-21 to help ease the financial burden many families are facing. The board also approved a provisional operating budget reflecting our commitment to provide quality instruction and research options for our students, while minimizing the possibility of layoffs and furloughs.
I want to be clear that this provisional budget addresses only the next few months. Far too many variables – mainly the uncertainty about the state’s budget and fall enrollment – prevent us from knowing what the budget will ultimately be for the coming year.
As you know, we left Richmond with the largest budget allocation in ODU’s history. However, the fiscal outlook has significantly changed since then. Higher education might face a budget reduction of up to 15% in general fund support in Virginia. As VP DuBois shared last month, ODU is preparing for a budget shortfall of $40 to $50 million in tuition revenue and state support.
Furthermore, it is still too early for us to predict fall enrollment. We did much better in Summer Sessions 2020 than we did in 2019, but we are preparing for fall numbers to follow current national trends and likely run behind last year.
Over the summer, we expect the Commonwealth will update its revenue forecasts, and in August the General Assembly may reconvene for a special session to address the biennial budget. At that point, we will have more information about the economic impact of the pandemic on state funding for higher education as well as enrollment estimates. As always, we will provide you with timely and comprehensive updates.
In the meantime, the provisional budget implements a combination of base budget reductions and one-time savings strategies so we can respond to these potential fluctuations. It also allots necessary funds for COVID-19 testing, monitoring and contact tracing and needed investments for our return to campus in a manner that meets Virginia’s Higher Education Reopening Guidance. ODU is working with the Virginia Department of Health, medical professionals and public health experts to carry out these measures.
ODU’s Executive Policy Team and Public Health Task Force are finalizing guidance for the return of our workforce and students back to campus. The guidance will include expectations for members of our campus community to #ReignResponsibly and do their part to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Face coverings will be required in some settings, and those on campus will have to practice social distancing. The University will update and submit a revised Blueprint for Reopening to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia no later than July 6 and will post this information on our website.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility, and I look forward to welcoming you back to campus.
John R. Broderick
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