BOULDER – The University of Colorado Boulder has announced anticipated budget cuts because of decreased enrollment as the coronavirus pandemic has posed several challenges on higher education, officials said.
Provost Russell Moore and Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke sent a memo to campus employees Thursday saying that the school will have to cut an additional $17 million from this year’s budget after administrators already made cuts in anticipation, The Denver Post reported.
The university did not immediately respond to questions about how much enrollment had declined, citing the need to wait until a campus census is released Sept. 11.
The memo said that state funding cuts, enrollment changes and costs associated with the pandemic left the university with an estimated funding gap of $120 million compared with a year ago. The campus currently has at least a $51 million general fund gap after diverting savings and other funds, Moore and O’Rourke said.
“All administrative and academic units must begin addressing our new budget reality with current and planned cost-saving efforts that we will begin to implement in the upcoming weeks,” the memo said.
The university asked colleges, schools and departments on the campus in July to cut their budgets by 5% for a one-time cut, but said that cuts may extend beyond the year. State legislators shaved $493 million from the upcoming year’s higher education budget to lower a $3.3 billion gap in the state budget.
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis filled some of that deficit with $450 million of federal coronavirus relief aid that he issued to public colleges and universities to be used for pandemic-associated costs.
“Each of you has been impacted by furloughs and temporary pay reductions, and our academic and administrative units are making difficult decisions on behalf of our campus community,” Moore and O’Rourke said. “We also understand the real impacts budget cuts have on the lives of our community members and thank you all for the sacrifices you have made for CU Boulder.”