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Important Financial Guidance for University Leaders

Dear Colleagues,

The University is addressing several challenges due to COVID-19. The severity of the economic challenge and duration of the public health crisis is not fully known at this time. We are looking at the immediate need to work together to ensure proper fiscal stewardship of the University. Our goal is to be as prepared as possible. To that end, our decision-making should first focus on the next 60 days and we are taking careful actions in the short run. This will prepare us to mitigate the long-term impacts as they become clear.

The University remains focused on the financial priorities below and the resources necessary to achieve them:

  • Ensuring our students receive a high-quality education
  • Supporting retention and recruitment of our students
  • Continuing research and scholarship, especially related to the public health crisis and precision health
  • Supporting the University’s response to the public health crisis and other engagement activities
  • Supporting activities that grow revenues for the University

ANY discretionary expenditures that are unrelated to the areas above will be prohibited to preserve resources. Effective immediately, each university will take the following steps:

Spending Limitations and Guidance

Hiring and reclassifications/salary increases
If you have a specific situation that you believe deserves exception, please seek approval from your respective President/Chancellor, Provost, CFO and CHRO before proceeding.

  • No new hires or merit increases at this time. If you have current hires preparing to start work at the University, please consider delaying the start date if possible.
  • Please do not institute any incentive pay, one-off pay changes, or job reclassifications. We understand and appreciate that many employees are going above and beyond their job duties and you want to reward them. We are all grateful for their efforts. However, to focus on the public health and economic challenges ahead of us, no pay changes or job reclassifications will be processed at this time.
  • Positions currently posted should be postponed and current candidates notified that the position will not be filled at this time.

Non-Payroll Spend

  • Non-essential capital spending and real estate purchases should stop (excluding large projects underway).
  • There should be no travel or food purchases, unless related to the above areas of focus.
  • Limiting execution of leases, contracts or purchase orders.

To ensure compliance with these steps related to non-payroll expenses, the University will implement the following restrictions and guidelines:

  • Requisitions or contracts greater than $10,000 and less than $100,000 will require dean or division director approval.
  • Requisitions or contracts greater than $100,000 or greater will require the approval of the campus CFO or equivalent.
  • Reimbursements, One-Card purchases and Show-me Shop items should be dramatically curtailed at this time. Fiscal approvers should follow the guidance above in approving these transactions.
  • Throughout the current disruption in business, it will be important to track both lost revenues and expenses resulting from the disruption. Instructions for doing so can be found on the  Funding Guidelines and Costs Related to COVID-19 webpage.

To help mitigate the long-term impact, our universities will:

  • Ensure we take steps to maintain or grow our student enrollment as much as possible. It will be a key to helping us move through this in the longer term.
  • Continue outreach to prospective students and accepted incoming class while maintaining relationships with our existing students.
  • Resource and support enrollment management needs.
  • Lead in the public health response, as we are the research universities for the state. We need to lead with our science and participate in the state level response. 
  • Grant and research work should continue to the extent possible. These revenues can offset declines elsewhere.
  • Make every effort to communicate and be transparent with our faculty and staff.

These restrictions and guidelines apply to all of our universities. MU Health Care has issued its own guidance separately. Chancellors, provosts, chief financial officers and chief human resource officers may apply additional restrictions as they deem necessary. Thank you for your continued commitment to the University and for helping prioritize the use of our resources.

Mun Choi, President, UM System and Interim Chancellor, MU
C. Mauli Agrawal, Chancellor, UMKC
Mohammad Dehghani, Chancellor, Missouri S&T
Kristin Sobolik, Interim Chancellor, UMSL

Reviewed 2020-03-27