Breakdown of USF’s budget cuts 

USF set a plan to cut down on spending universitywide over the next two fiscal years, trimming the academic colleges’ total budgets by $27.5 million and academic and business support units’ budgets by about $22 million collectively. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

As the university plans ahead for future cuts in state funding related to COVID-19, different departments have already started to see cuts across all campuses.

Major cuts totaling $3.8 million have already been made so far, according to Senior Vice President of Business and Financial Strategy David Lechner. The cuts occurred in response to the Board of Governors’ request to plan for an 8.5% cut, or $36.7 million, in state funding for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, and a 10% reduction for the 2021-22 fiscal year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

With all hiring on pause until further notice, 42 fewer individuals were hired throughout the months of September and October compared to the previous fiscal year, a total of $1.2 million less in personnel expenses universitywide.

Executive cuts have also been made to compensate for the budget cuts. Around 30 members of USF’s leadership team, ranging from senior vice president-level positions, vice presidents and deans, have been subject to a mandated salary cut of 6% to 10%, effective Oct. 2. 

USF President Steven Currall has also taken a voluntary 15% salary reduction, or $86,250, for the 2020-21 fiscal year, reducing his base salary from $575,000 to $488,750. The total cuts will result in $606,000 in savings through June 30, 2021.

With more online classes and fewer students, faculty and staff on campus, the university saved around $691,000 in utilities, waste and fuel as well as $672,000 in other expenses, including printing costs, across all three campuses.

For travel freeze and restrictions, the university spent $621,000 less in Educational and General funds.

The university projected expenditures of over $31 million related to COVID-19 for the fall semester. So far, the university spent about $17 million.

Since the actual amount spent was lower than what was originally projected, Lechner said the $31 million will also cover the university’s expenditures through the spring semester.

The next step regarding budget cuts to finalize each college’s plans is to meet their individual targets. Of the $36.7 million in cuts from state funding, $13.4 million will be taken from colleges.

While all colleges will be affected by the cut, it will not be distributed evenly.

The biggest cut will affect USF’s largest college. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is projected to absorb a $5.97 million cut for the 2020-21 fiscal year and a $4.97 million cut for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.

Followed by CAS, the College of Education will also suffer major cuts of $2.84 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year and $4 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The College of Business is projected to cut $1.75 million and $1.3 million from its state funds for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years, respectively.

When it comes to the College of Engineering, $976,000 will be cut for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years. The College of Behavioral and Community Science will have a $951,000 cut for this fiscal year and a $1.3 million cut for the following fiscal year.

The College of Marine Science will have a cut of $313,000 for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years. The College of Global Sustainability will suffer a $168,000 and a $368,000 cut for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years, respectively.

For the upcoming fiscal year, the College of the Arts will have a $286,000 cut. However, its cut will bump up to $807,000 for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

The Honors College will have the lowest budget cut among USF’s 13 colleges, with a $125,000 cut for the two upcoming fiscal years.

Over the two-year period, the university projects cutting $27.5 million across all 13 colleges.

Besides cuts for the academic colleges, “academic support units,” which includes student success services, library and graduate studies, will be cut by $4.97 million and “university business support units,” ranging from administrative services to human resources, police and research, will be cut by $6.2 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

As of Nov. 4, $2.2 million and $5.2 million have been cut from “academic support units” and “university support units,” respectively.

For the 2021-22 fiscal year, academic support and university business support units will be cut by approximately $5.2 million and $5.67 million, respectively.

As a result of a decline in revenue, Housing and Residential Education and Dining Services also project being hit by the current financial setbacks.

With a decrease in occupancy, Housing and Residential Education is projected to suffer a $4 million loss in cash for housing operations for the Tampa campus, according to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nick Trivunovich. The loss for the St. Pete campus ranges between $1.5 and $2 million.

The total housing occupancy for the fall semester was around 56% and 33% for the Tampa and St. Pete campuses, respectively.

Dining Services is also projected to suffer losses as a result of a decline in meal plan sales, according to Trivunovich. No specific values were released as the university continues to work with Aramark, USF’s food service provider, to figure out the projected financial losses for both parties.

“They’ve been really good thus far about working with us through this to this current COVID situation,” Trivunovich said. “And so until we have a finalized kind of discussion and agreement with them, I’m not sure that I have an exact number to give you, but we continue to ask them to assume some of the risks.”

While the planning stages continue, colleges and departments across the university are preparing to complete and submit their plans by mid-December. Results will be presented during the BOT’s meeting in January.