Iowa’s public university leaders to share COVID-19 revenue losses with regents

The regents will hear updates April 30 from the heads of Iowa’s regent institutions on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting finances.


Wyatt Dlouhy

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld addresses the Board of Regents during a meeting at the Iowa State Alumni Center in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday, June 6, 2019.

Rylee Wilson, Politics Reporter

The state Board of Regents will hold a virtual meeting Thursday to discuss the loss of revenue and increased financial strain that Iowa’s three public universities face as a result of COVID-19.

Although Iowa’s three regent institutions will receive $45.5 million in federal relief money from the CARES Act, with the University of Iowa receiving $16.2 million in aid, the universities expect to face significant funding shortfalls after closing residence halls and moving courses online for the semester.

Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen in an April 20 letter to faculty and staff shared that the institution anticipates it will lose $80 million in revenue through the summer. The other institutional heads will report the financial impact of COVID-19 on their schools to the regents Thursday.

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The UI has not yet announced how much revenue it projects it will lose because of its response to COVID-19, but a message shared April 22 with deans, human-resource officers, and business officers stated that leadership of colleges and central service units will be able to make individual budget decisions for their units.

In fiscal 2019 — the budget year that spanned from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 — the UI adopted a model to give more control to colleges in forming their own budgets.

Each college will be working to understand the potential changes in enrollment and will need to model different scenarios based upon those projections,” the memo stated. “It is important that these decisions be made at a local level as the impact from the pandemic will be different for each college and each central service unit.”

The meeting will be live streamed on the regents’ website.

The next regularly scheduled regents’ meeting will take place June 2-4 at the UI.