Dear IC community,
We hope this message finds you safe and well, and we want to sincerely thank you for staying strong and focused as we continue to navigate such uncertain and challenging times — as a college, as a community, and as a nation.
As we mentioned in our note following the IC Board of Trustees meetings in May, the board gathered yesterday to discuss and approve the FY21 budget. The board typically approves the budget for the upcoming year during its May meetings. However, due to the changing national and global economic landscape and the college’s extended June 1 admissions deadline, the board and the college’s senior leadership team felt it was prudent to defer this action until a clearer picture was available around the upcoming academic year.
The board approved the recommended $189 million net revenue operating budget for FY21, which represents a decrease of $28 million from the forecasted amount for FY20, and reflects the decrease in enrollment that Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy Laurie Koehler explored in her recent message. As Vice President Koehler pointed out, we’d been anticipating this decrease in enrollment and it will have budget implications, not just this year, but in every future year the 2020 cohort of students is enrolled at IC.
Trustees would like to applaud the college community for the important planning that occurred in response to these anticipated changes within the landscape of higher education, specifically the creation of Ithaca Forever, IC’s strategic plan. The issues created by the COVID-19 crisis have accelerated many of these forecasted trends, and, consequently, accelerated the college’s need to react accordingly. Having a strategic plan already in place as we face this moment is invaluable.
The FY21 operating budget dedicates $127 million to unfunded institutional financial aid. Unfunded aid represents the college’s direct investment in students, and doesn’t include restricted financial aid, government funds, or donations.
The board also approved a $7.7 million capital budget for FY21, down from the FY20 capital budget of $15 million. Though this is a significant reduction, investments are being made in key areas that are critical to the college’s success in the coming academic year, including: IT equipment to support teaching and learning; resources for the college’s Physician Assistant Program; and deferred maintenance, particularly work that has a health and safety focus as we continue to prepare our physical plant to welcome faculty, staff, and students back this fall.
The board wants to acknowledge and thank the members of the IC community for all of their effort and diligence in the college’s budgeting process, with special thanks to the members of the Institutional Effectiveness and Budget Committee (IEBC).
Please stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about the FY21 budget and our enrollment and marketing strategy, which will be provided soon by Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Guerrero and Vice President Koehler. The full, approved budget will also be made available online soon.
In addition to the approval of the budget, the college’s senior leadership team provided trustees with an update on the evolving enrollment strategy and the ongoing collaborative work around the 2020-21 academic calendar, including the progress of the Return to Campus Task Force and the Academic Success and Student Engagement Coordinating Committee. The board has a full understanding of the many complexities and considerations involved with solidifying a comprehensive and specific — yet flexible — plan for the upcoming year, and commends the senior leadership team, governance councils, deans, and all of the faculty, staff, and students who’ve engaged in productive and cooperative efforts to build a path forward through a very difficult time.
The board’s next meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, through Friday, October 23. It is our sincere hope that the board will be able to join you on South Hill for these October meetings, as we work together to fulfill the promise of Ithaca College.
Dave Lissy ’87
Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees
Shirley M. Collado
President, Ithaca College