UI Expects COVID-19 Financial Hit

By Connor Ciecko

In a virtual board of trustees meeting on Thursday, Avijit Gosh, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the University of Illinois System, announced that the University is expecting to lose about $167 million this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Approximately $50 million of the loss is due to the university refunding a portion of student fees, including, university housing and dining.

Despite UI President Tim Killeen’s optimism that campus will reopen in the fall, the uncertainty around what classes may look like has the potential to lower enrollment numbers and further increase the expected financial loss.  In addition to this, the mounting economic turmoil and the looming shadow of a recession could push the prospect of attending the U of I out of reach for some potential students.

Larry Dietz, president of Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, said that they are already seeing enrollment numbers for the fall drop.  For UIUC, a large concern is that of attendance by international students.  Approximately 16,000 international students study in Champaign-Urbana and there is worry that some of these students my not return either by choice or international travel restriction.  In 2017, the University took out a $60 million insurance plan against a drop in tuition from Chinese international scholars to help insulate from a situation like this.

Killeen continues to be hopeful for the fall.  “I’m confident that with the appropriate protocols in place this fall, we will restore much of the face-to-face teaching, as well as lab-based research, residential life, and the other unique benefits that make our campus communities second to none,” he said.

The University plans to have a detailed roadmap and guidelines for the upcoming semester in June.

Photo by Liam Dwyer