NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Rutgers President Robert Barchi said the COVID-19 pandemic will cost the university about $200 million in lost revenue this quarter.
Barchi, who addressed the Board of Governors during Tuesday’s meeting, painted a stark financial future for the school, which is home to some 50,000 students. A drop in clinical revenues, an expected decline in enrollment and other factors will create “challenging losses in the coming fiscal year.”
Barchi, who will be stepping aside June 30 after an eight-year run as president to make way for incoming president Jonathan Holloway, told the board that the university is looking for ways to make up for the losses in revenue.
“I want to tell you that my team is working hard to develop plans to mitigate all of our financial challenges, even with the uncertainty we face,” Barchi said. “We will not be able to do this without the participation of everyone. That means staff, faculty, students all working together. We all love this university. We all have tremendous confidence in its future. We are not closed, we are not going to close we will exit this crisis stronger than we came into it.”
Rutgers isn’t closed, but its campuses here and in Camden and Newark are empty aside from essential personnel.
The school mobilized its Office of Emergency Management in January, just as the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. Rutgers appointed a COVID-19 task force days before the first U.S. death from the coronavirus was confirmed Feb. 28.
Barchi announced on March 12 that students would start spring break early and instructed almost all students and faculty to leave the campus. The school switched to remote education for the rest of the semester.
Last week, the university announced all summer courses would be completed remotely and all spring and summer activities such as Rutgers Day, the spring football game and the commencement ceremony would be canceled.
On Tuesday, Barchi laid out some of the ways Rutgers’ finances will be hardest hit.
The school is issuing prorated refunds to students for room, board and parking expenses that will cost more than $50 million in this quarter.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week it was freezing almost $1 billion in state appropriations, including about $73 million that was earmarked for Rutgers.
Even as Rutgers’ personnel and resources continue to be tapped for the war on COVID-19, Barchi said clinical revenues are expected to fall by up to $60 million in this quarter alone.
“That may sound paradoxical when our clinicians are working 24/7, but realize that most of our clinical revenue comes from outpatient and ambulatory surgery procedures and operations, all of which are shut down,” he said.
He also said Rutgers can expect a drop in enrollment for next year, which will have “a huge impact” on tuition revenues.
Searching to close his remarks on a positive note, Barchi pointed to the success of the recent Rutgers Dance Marathon.
“In spite of the virtual venue,” he said, “we were able to raise over $1 million in donated funds for that cause (Embrace Kids Foundation). So, it can be done.”