Release Date: June 05, 2020
Today, Colorado State University Pueblo President, Timothy Mottet, thanked the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System and announced that the proposed CSU Pueblo budget for the next year has been unanimously approved by the Board, pending completion of the State’s budget through the Colorado General Assembly’s Long Bill. The budget, Mottet explained, will not require a tuition increase, pay cuts, furloughs, or employee layoffs.
CSU Pueblo’s budget will balance a potential $21 million shortfall. The Board-approved budget for Fort Collins balances a $143 million shortfall and requires a $17 million expense reduction, with an emphasis on leaving open positions unfilled, eliminating vacant non-critical positions, and promoting voluntary early separation incentives. Both campuses will utilize the aid of combined resources, including CARES Act funding allocated directly to the campuses, state-designated CARES Act funding authorized by Governor Polis, Board reserves, and debt refinancing. CSU Pueblo will make a $1 million expense reduction as part of this comprehensive budget plan.
In order to balance campus budgets, the Board voted to use the reserves it established after the Great Recession — along with emergency state and federal aid provided through the CARES Act — to minimize the impact on students and the System’s universities as they prepare to reopen for on-campus instruction in the fall. The Board also voted to refinance existing campus facilities debt to take advantage of unprecedented low interest rates and allow longer time for repayment. The approved budget plans are significantly more positive than those facing most U.S. campuses, thanks to the state government’s deployment of the federal CARES Act funds and the vision of the Board in marshaling resources and preparing for emergencies over the last decade, CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank said.
“This package leans heavily on those federal stimulus funds, pairing them aggressively with System reserves and proceeds from Board-initiated refinancing,” Frank said. “These sources of funds allow us to substantively spare the campuses where the real work of teaching, discovery, and engagement occurs.”
CSU Pueblo’s $1 million expense reduction will be managed primarily through leaving open positions unfilled, eliminating vacant non-critical positions, and promoting voluntary early separation incentives. Given the Board-approved budget brought forward by President Mottet, no cuts are planned for part-time employees or discretionary expenses, and the campus will not be required to make adjustments to salaries, existing positions, or programming.
“Many regional comprehensives across the country are struggling to survive, and some will not,” acknowledged President Mottet. “Although position management will certainly have an impact on our university, we will not experience or endure the culture-gutting distraction that severe budget cuts would have created for all of us. Because CSU Pueblo is a primary employer, the news today is extremely positive for our campus our community, and the southern Colorado region. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve students, this campus, and our community, and we are proud that this work will continue unabated, thanks to the hard work of many individuals both here and at the System level.”
In compliance with CARES Act funding rules, federal funds will not be used to backfill any budget reductions. The Board and CSU System executive leadership, including campus presidents, are developing commensurate policies and procedures. As part of today’s announcement, the CSU System Board of Governors expressed continuing support for CSU Pueblo’s strategic plan – Vision 2028 – and extended the financial support for these important initiatives.
“CSU Pueblo began looking at campus wide, cost-cutting measures early in the pandemic,” Mottet explained. “Vision 2028 has given us guiding principles for this unprecedented moment in time and provided a detailed blueprint for creating a robust future; we remain grateful to the System and to the Board for the ongoing investment in the transformative work that continues to happen at CSU Pueblo.”
The CSU System will continue to plan for the possibility of further economic downturn in the coming years, which may cause additional shortfalls due to the pandemic. Universities across the nation are unsure of enrollment impacts in fall 2020 and beyond. The Board has established an $80 million COVID-19 Emergency Reserve Fund to ensure the campuses remain financially sound and able to deliver on their critical mission during a time of great uncertainty.
According to Chancellor Tony Frank, “We know that leaving positions unfilled and the ongoing possibility of future budget cuts will have real impacts that we have to navigate. But given all of the challenges we faced heading into this budget cycle, we are confident that these budgets prepare us well to continue to serve our students and contribute to Colorado’s economic recovery.”
CSU Pueblo owes thanks to the Board of Governors, Governor Polis, the Colorado General Assembly, and to the federal Congressional delegation for their leadership during this uncertain time. The campus remains grateful for the work at the System level of Chancellor Tony Frank and Chief Financial Officer, Henry Sobanet.
For the official Board of Governors of the CSU System release, please visit https://col.st/w24Ps for more information.