UD campus

University of Delaware campus

(WDEL file)

The University of Delaware is anticipating a $65 million hit to its budget due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the university community, dated April 27, 2020, president Dr. Dennis Assanis, said that revenue gap can be reduced to $50 million through cost-mitigation strategies and $6 million in CARES Act stimulus funding the university will receive.

The university implemented a hiring freeze, effective April 14, on all current and future academic and non-academic searches. This includes adjunct faculty, who won't yet know, if they have a teaching job in the fall.

It's also implemented a suspension on all discretionary funding.

"This includes food/meals, events, memberships, hiring of outside consultants, contracts, and purchase of equipment," said Assanis in the letter.

Additionally, all campus projects under construction will continue, while other capital projects will be re-evaluated and potentially deferred. Maintenance spending will also be reduced to a level only aimed at maintaining current operations.

"No new capital projects will be approved," Assanis said in the letter.

Exceptions will be made for projects funding largely through external monies, including the "FinTech" building on the STAR Campus. 

The university has also asked all departments to realign staff.

"All departments have been asked to evaluate work capacity among staff to ensure efficient use of resources. As we strive to maintain our current workforce, our goal is to identify solutions for sustained application of talent where possible to optimize current resources," the letter said.

The university has also suspended all travel. Even when safe travel can resume, only essential travel will be permitted.

All in-person summer activities, programs, and conferences slated to begin prior to August 1, are canceled or will be offered virtually. This includes graduation ceremonies though University of Delaware spokeswoman Andrea Boyle said the university still hopes to have an in-person commencement at some point. Summer classes will continue via distance learning.

Students returning to campus in the fall remains on the table with an update expected sometime in June. A task force is being assembled to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Delaware and evaluate contingency plans.

"We remain cautiously optimistic that we will be in a position to welcome all students on campus this fall, traditionally a true highlight of the year. Of course, we need to stay aligned with what has emerged as the 'new normal,' with guidance provided by our state government and public health authorities pertaining to the pandemic," said Assanis. "As always, the health and safety of our community remain our top priority."