Home Campus Graduate Student Senate, Shaffer discuss revenue impact at Ohio University

Graduate Student Senate, Shaffer discuss revenue impact at Ohio University

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Ohio University Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Deborah Shaffer met with Graduate Student Senate on Tuesday to discuss the financial impacts of COVID-19 at Ohio U.

According to Shaffer, university revenues are decreasing at a faster rate than the Finance and Administration office is able to offset with reduced spending. 

In August 2019, Shaffer said the university forecasted it would draw $32 million in revenue for 2020. However, due to the university operating remotely for the fourth quarter, revenue dropped to $20 million for the year — $12 million less than anticipated. 

University enrollment has declined for a number of reasons including demographics, market competition and financial pressure related to financial aid packages, according to Shaffer. She also said other institutions have offered financial aid packages that the university could not, which could be another reason why less students enrolled at Ohio U. 

To improve enrollment, Shaffer said the financial office shifted focus from an aggressive to a more conservative budget strategy. 

She also said one of the challenges the financial office has faced is adding more financial aid to attract potential students. Ohio U had to increase its scholarship budget to offer greater scholarships to help higher student need during the coronavirus pandemic.

GSS also discussed the university temporarily changing its grading policies amid the pandemic. The university will implement a satisfactory/no credit grading option, previously used during spring semester 2020, for undergraduate students — regardless of learning format. 

GSS also touched on the university’s response to the pandemic. They talked about several groups that have been created to work as a council and are responsible for various aspects of the university’s response to the pandemic. These groups include the academic policy and process group, research and creative activity group, and public health group. The fall planning groups intend to serve as a connection between the university and the students. They are chaired by Faculty Senate Vice Chair Ben Bates and University Curriculum Council member Sara Helfrich.  

As part of the response, students have also received emails or texts that include some kind of interactive response such as a survey to help the university better understand the students viewpoints and their current overall status. 

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