The Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved the budget development guidelines for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The guidelines include an overall reduction of approximately $52.6 million from the 2019-20 fiscal year. The university is planning for financial challenges as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic including lower enrollment levels and fewer state appropriations.
“The impacts of the pandemic are unprecedented on an individual, community and societal level. From the loss of life to the loss of jobs to the uncertainty of the future — there is no softening the difficulty of the situation,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “But MSU is dedicated to delivering on its core mission as an inclusive community with strong academic disciplines and a liberal arts foundation. We will continue providing a world-class education, conducting high-caliber research and advancing outreach and engagement locally and globally.”
The university has instituted several previously announced cost reductions included in the budget. A few areas will see increases. Regular student financial aid will increase by 4% as will the pay range for student employees. In addition, the university will dedicate $4 million for initiatives focused on academic competitiveness as well as information technology projects including research computing and campus and classroom Wi-Fi improvements.
Earlier this spring the university announced that neither tuition rates nor room and board rates would change for the 2020-21 academic year. Both actions were taken to assist students who are continuing their education during the pandemic.
Also during the meeting, trustees heard a presentation from Jack Lipton, chair of the College of Human Medicine’s Department of Translational Neuroscience, about his research into alternative tests for the novel coronavirus. Lipton and his team are evaluating a new testing method that is 500 times more sensitive than the standard coronavirus test. MSU is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so this method can be offered to test patients suspected of having COVID-19.
Other board activity included:
- Establishment of the Stanley and Selma Hollander Artist and Scholar Guest Lecture Series as well as the Stanley and Selma Hollander Endowed Scholarship in Theatre
- Creation of the John Wettaw Chemistry Scholarship for undergraduate students majoring in chemistry
- Recognition of Teresa Sullivan for her service as interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs
The next board meeting will be Sept. 11.