Shawnee State University is the latest victim of the budget fallout from Ohio’s COVID-19 lockdown. With most businesses shut down, Ohio’s tax revenues have dropped like a rock. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered 20% budget cuts in every area of Ohio’s budget but the Department of Corrections. As a result, SSU made some drastic budget cuts.
$3.5 Million Slashed
Shawnee State University lost $3.5 in state funding. They expect to lose the same amount in 2021. Additionally, SSU refunded housing and meal plan payments to students when they left campus after classrooms were shut down by the state.
SSU President Jeff Bauer announced strong measures to deal with those budget cuts.
“We presented a balanced budget for the fiscal year 2020 to the Board of Trustees and were on target to achieve that budget before the pandemic. We’re now developing a phased-in approach to balancing the budget for the fiscal year 2021 and preparing to fully reopen campus by the beginning of the fall semester in late August.”
Staff Furloughs & Hiring Freeze
Among the cost-cutting measures:
- A hiring freeze
- Elimination of all university-sponsored travel
- Summer furlough program for administration and staff
- Restrictions on non-compensation spending
- Reorganization efforts to improve efficiencies
While Bauer didn’t say it, “reorganization” normally equates to layoffs. He said that over the summer the university would work with faculty to find ways to reduce instructional costs.
He put his money where his mouth is and also asked for a 10% reduction in his own salary as president.
“The global pandemic has created challenges for everyone,” he said. “Shawnee State is certainly not unique in having to make immediate adjustments as we manage the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are unique in that we are building upon a strong foundation with a team that has already proven its ability to lead, innovate, and advance this institution.”
Bauer says that Shawnee State is in better shape than many other colleges in the state because they’ve been working hard over the past two years to keep the budget in line and to grow enrollment. He cited their nationally ranked game design program as a strong draw for students.
Another positive sign is that applications for this coming fall are strong. Governor DeWine has not announced if students will be back on Ohio campuses this fall.
Bauer says SSU is ready. “This crisis might delay us, but it will not keep us from addressing our mission to prepare today’s students for success in tomorrow’s world… a world that will look so much different from the one we left earlier this year.”