ASU System talks budget reductions and financial planning for 2020-2021

State Senate approves A-State budget, heads to State House Thursday

ASU System talks budget reductions and financial planning for 2020-2021

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) -The Arkansas State University System provided an update Tuesday regarding their budget and finances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday, the collective impact of state budget reductions for the ASU system sits at $4.8 million between April 14 and June 30.

It includes a $2.35 million reduction for Arkansas State University’s Jonesboro campus.

According to Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communications & economic development, no employment reductions or usage of reserve funds are needed to get through the 2020 fiscal year.

Instead, Arkansas State University will achieve budget cuts through reduced travel, supplies and service, utility expenses, used of unused capital balances, unbudgeted trust fund revenues, and “carry forward” funds from various departments.

The system will receive $15,250,867 from the CARES Act, with the emergency financial aid for students set at $7,625,433. The Jonesboro campus will get $9,258,158 from the CARES Act, with $4,629,079 in emergency financial aid.

In a statement Wednesday, ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said the Jonesboro campus had already planned for a conservative budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

“In spite of the fact that our applications, admissions, and enrollments were up for Fall 2020, we had already created a conservative FY21 budget earlier this year. We had budgeted for “flat” enrollment. But, after seeing the impact that COVID-19 was having on our state, our budget team proactively began to reconsider the original plans we had made for the FY21 budget. Unfortunately, that anticipation turned out to be correct,” Damphousse said.

For 2021, ASU System President Chuck Welch asked chancellors to prepare budgets with no tuition or fee increases for Fall 2020.

Damphousse said in the statement that the campus will also look at ways to strategically cut in the budget.

“Just as we did this year, we will identify line items in the FY21 budget that can be cut or eliminated without interfering with our central mission to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth, and enrich lives. We will follow our existing budget cut protocols when making these changes (e.g., all divisions will participate in any reductions, focus on protecting currently filled employee lines, and curtailing non-essential travel and other expenditures),” Damphousse said, noting the campus has built up sufficient reserves to help with budgeting.

The state Senate voted 35-0 Wednesday to approve the A-State budget.

The budget now goes to the state House Thursday.

The ASU Board of Trustees will discuss the budget at a meeting on June 4.

Copyright 2020 KAIT. All rights reserved.