June 11, 2020

Trustees sign off on Purdue budget that 'makes safety from the COVID-19 virus its top priority'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University trustees on Thursday (June 11) approved the university’s 2021 fiscal-year operating budget, which makes safety from the COVID-19 virus its top priority and shifts millions in funding to provide it.

Chief among them is the strategic use of resources for the implementation of the Protect Purdue initiative to ensure a safe campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors when campus reopens for the fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As much as $50 million is being allocated for testing and tracing, instructional capacity, building and facility modifications, additional sanitizing and cleaning, personal protective equipment supplies and safety equipment and quarantine rooms for students.

“Protecting our most vulnerable and reopening campus safely will require that the university expend funds for critical health and safety infrastructure,” said Chris Ruhl, treasurer and chief financial officer. “This, of course, is a must-do and a top priority for the fiscal-year 2021 budget plan.”

Nearly $5 million will be earmarked for enrollment growth investments, including the hiring of 28 new faculty members (11 in the College of Science, 10 in the College of Engineering, four for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and three in the Krannert School of Management).

To mitigate revenue declines from COVID-19, Purdue officials have strategically reduced nonessential spending, including deferring merit increases, reducing travel and purchases, deferring repair and rehabilitation expenses, and instituting a hiring freeze.

“In our view, confronting this budget challenge head-on is preferable to hoping that it will go away,” Ruhl said. “By acting early and decisively, our hope is that decisions that are more painful can be avoided. Every week brings news of more colleges and universities announcing layoffs, furloughs, reduced pay, suspension of retirement contributions and other personnel actions for existing faculty and staff.”

In February, Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced that tuition at the university’s flagship West Lafayette campus will hold at 2012 levels through 2021-22, marking the ninth straight year of no tuition increase. Room and board rates at the West Lafayette campus have seen no increase for eight consecutive years.

Tuition and fees at Purdue University Northwest and Purdue University Fort Wayne will follow the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s recommended increase of up to 1.65% each year. Trustees approved the reduction and reestablishment of its nonresident domestic tuition and fee levels for Purdue Fort Wayne undergraduate programs for students from the four states contiguous to Indiana (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky) and for its online degree programs. Purdue Fort Wayne participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which is a group of Midwest states and participating institutions that charge nonresident domestic students 150% of the residential rate. For Fort Wayne, the 2020-21 base resident undergraduate per credit hour rate is $291, and the base nonresident undergraduate per-credit-hour-rate is $698.70. A rate of 150% of the resident per-credit-hour rate is $436.50. This adjustment will help position Fort Wayne more competitively in the marketplace for recruitment of students.

The university’s all-funds operating budget for fiscal year 2021 supports educational, operating and strategic investment expenditures. Trustees endorsed the following total operating expenditures for fiscal-year 2021:

  • At the West Lafayette campus: $2.094 billion.
  • At Purdue Northwest: $139 million.
  • At Purdue Fort Wayne: $139 million.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

Writer: Tom Schott, tschott@purdue.edu

Source: Chris Ruhl, ruhlc@purdue.edu

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