Financial Update FAQ
Financial Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Barnard College
Barnard reacted quickly in March and April, with the goal of meeting students’ needs while limiting spending. As a result, the College is in a better immediate position than many institutions. But as the pandemic creates new costs and lost revenue, Barnard must take cost-cutting measures now to ensure we are best prepared for a robust 20-21 academic year.
How has Barnard been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
In addition to the unexpected costs the College has already incurred, we have experienced losses to our endowment and major reductions in summer revenue. At the same time, we have increased our commitment to support students with the greatest financial need this summer and expect increased demand for financial aid next year. We also are planning for additional costs to keep our campus healthy once in-person activities resume as well as significant new technology investments to reach students, faculty and staff who are not able to return to campus soon. Finally, there is no clear answer about how the pandemic will play out, which infuses uncertainty into our budget for next academic year.
How is Barnard responding to this situation?
Barnard will best mitigate financial risk by ensuring it continues to offer an outstanding and distinctive education and connecting that academic experience to preparation for a lifetime of opportunities. At the same time, the College must take a number of steps to reduce costs now to ensure our stable financial future.
What values are guiding Barnard’s financial decisions?
President Beilock has consistently identified three principles to guide Barnard’s decision-making during the pandemic:
- Maintaining Barnard’s steadfast commitment to academic excellence;
- Assuring that Barnard will continue to fulfill its unique and critical mission for the long term; and
- Supporting the physical and mental health, as well as the financial well-being, of students, faculty and staff, especially those who are the most vulnerable.
Leadership Reductions & Reorganization
How will Barnard reduce administrative costs?
Cost reduction will begin at the leadership level. Starting July 1 and carrying through FY21, the president’s compensation will be reduced by 20% The provost will take a 15% reduction in overall compensation. The rest of the College’s senior staff will also see their individual compensation reduced. In addition, three vice president positions are being eliminated without replacement.
What positions will be eliminated?
The positions of Vice Presidents of Communication, Human Resources and Information Technologies are being eliminated and will not be backfilled. We believe that limited position eliminations at the leadership level give the College the best chance to realize meaningful savings and still maintain a high-functioning administrative team.
Where will the Human Resources team report?
Human Resources will report to Jomysha Stephen, Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Chief of Staff to the President, along with the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of the President. Associate General Counsel Kathleen Veteri will serve as interim Executive Director of Human Resources.
Where will Information Technologies (IT) report?
Information Technologies (IT) will continue to report up through Roger Mosier, Vice President for Campus Services and Interim Vice President for Operations. Victoria Swann will serve as Interim Executive Director of Information Technologies.
Where will Communications report?
Communications will report to Jennifer Fondiller, Vice President for Enrollment, reflecting the importance the College is placing on communications in support of enrollment. Bringing the Enrollment and Communications staffs together will strengthen Barnard’s ability to tell a compelling and distinctive story to future students and their families. In addition to the change at the vice-presidential level, the positions of Associate Vice President for Communications and Executive Director of News and Strategic Communications are being eliminated. Quenta Vettel, Director of Communications, will manage day-to-day operations for the Communications staff.
In March, Barnard promised to keep its staff at full compensation through May 31. Given the scope and duration of the pandemic, however, the College cannot afford to continue paying the full costs of operations that have been reduced or discontinued, and tasks that cannot be performed from home. Beginning June 1, Barnard will institute a number of temporary furloughs across the College.
Temporary furloughs will give employees the opportunity to return to their jobs as soon as their work is needed and financially possible. Until then, furloughed employees will continue to receive their existing health and dental insurance through Barnard, with premiums being paid by the College for the duration of the furlough. Furloughed employees will retain tuition benefits for themselves and their families. Furloughed employees will also be eligible for unemployment benefits and special payments through the federal CARES Act. In addition, where possible, the College will participate in New York’s Shared Work program, which allows employees to share the available work on a reduced work schedule while being eligible to receive unemployment benefits for the percentage of hours not worked.
Who will be furloughed?
College leadership, frontline supervisors and union partners have begun discussions to determine which employees will be affected. Different roles may require different kinds of furloughs, ranging from full-time furloughs, reductions in hours, or a reduction in the number of days worked. Discussions with employees who will be furloughed will take place May 26th through the 29th.
How will the furloughs impact College operations?
Because furloughs will be focused primarily on functions that have already been suspended or are not possible from home, the impact on current operations will be minimal. Unit leaders will communicate with their own staff members about any specific changes in operations anticipated during furloughs.
Will some offices close at the College over the summer because of furloughs?
No. Furloughs are only being made where work has been temporarily paused due to the pandemic. Offices that are essential to running the campus and supporting students will remain fully functional. Some offices have organized partial furloughs so that staff with reduced workloads can cycle in and out to ensure offices remain open and able to carry out their work.
When will furloughs end?
With furloughs taking many different forms in different kinds of work, there is no single answer to their duration. Employees will be recalled when it becomes possible for them to fulfill their functions effectively and safely and the College’s finances allow it.
Will there be more rounds of furloughs or layoffs?
We do not anticipate further large-scale reductions in employment this summer.
Other Cost Controls
In Spring, 2020 the following steps were taken to control costs:
- No merit increases this summer or through the next fiscal year, with the exception of some raises previously negotiated by contracts and faculty compensation changes connected to tenure promotions.
- A hiring freeze will remain in place through FY21, with any rare exceptions requiring presidential approval.
- A freeze in departmental budgets through FY20.
Additional steps to control costs that are being taken in May, 2020:
- Reductions will be made in departmental budgets in FY21. The provost, chief financial officer, and leadership team are in the process of determining the nature and scope of those reductions.
- Staff were receiving supplemental pay for a regular or reduced workload; we have given notice to the unions that those pay supplements will not continue after May 31.