COLUMBUS (WCMH)–The Ohio State University Board of Trustees voted to approve a $7.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2021 during the board’s monthly meeting Thursday.

University finance leadership explained that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented significant budgetary challenges.

“We continue to focus on the university’s core academic, research and health care missions to keep Ohio State in the best possible position for a future in which the virus is contained,” said Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Michael Papadakis. “We have engaged in rigorous and responsible fiscal planning in response and are fully focused on making good long-term decisions for the institution.”

In a news release, the university detailed some of the impacts:

  • A reduction in state operating subsidy of 4.38%, or $18 million, from original Fiscal Year 2021 state funding levels
  • Anticipated tuition loss of $54.9 million due to many students moving to an entirely virtual schedule and others deciding not to return to the university this fiscal year
  • Reduced athletic revenues by $130.3 million due to the cancellation of event rentals, a postponed fall season, and related ticket, media, conference and game guarantee revenues
  • Student Life housing and dining revenues down $3 million from Fiscal Year 2020 due to lower student occupancy on campus, which equates to a $38.3 million reduction compared to a normalized fiscal year

The university is implementing $252.2 million in targeted savings across all colleges, support units and the Wexner Medical Center. Of those targeted savings, $175 million will come from university operations and $77.2 million from the Wexner Medical Center.

According to Papadakis, the university acted quickly to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic earlier this year. Ohio State instituted a hiring pause on April 1. That move that saved the university an estimated $10 million through the end of Fiscal Year 2020.

The university also temporarily paused annual merit raises for non-union employees. Restrictions on university travel were implemented in the early stages of the pandemic, and a review of all non-essential spending such as supplies, equipment purchases, conferences and membership expenses led to additional savings.

According to OSU, those proactive measures saved the university about $72 million through fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30.

University leaders emphasized the budget reductions would not prevent Ohio State from following through on current commitments or preparing for the future.

“Great institutions like Ohio State still make investments in the future during times like these. We continue to invest strategically to better position the university for success in the future,” said President-elect Kristina M. Johnson.

  • Ohio State is implementing a $15 an hour minimum wage in the new fiscal yea
  • The university has provided over $200 million in additional need-based aid to students and families since 2015, far exceeding its stated goal of reaching $100 million by 2020
  • University trustees approved the construction of the 1.9 million-square-foot Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Inpatient Hospital
  • Ohio State continues investing in digital course delivery infrastructure to position the university as a national leader in digital higher education in the post-COVID-19 era