Best case is a $75 million loss.
University of Minnesota administrators are bracing for a loss of as much as $315 million in expected revenue from a $3.8 billion budget because of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the most severe forecast presented Tuesday to the Board of Regents.
The virus forced the university to close campus and switch indefinitely to online instruction, a shift that has occurred at institutions all across the country.
The best-case scenario laid out at special meeting of the board conducted by video conference was a $75 million loss if the pandemic were to subside later this spring, thus allowing regular operations to resume this summer, the Star Tribune reported. Brian Burnett, senior vice president for finance and operations, said that projection was "becoming a more unlikely case each day."
The more moderate forecast of a return to normal by the start of the fall semester calls for a $160 million hit. The projected $315 million loss was calculated for a limitation on activity due to the virus that lasts through the end of the year. That figure comprises a hit of $85-90 million in tuition, $75 million for athletics, and $45-60 million in non-sports event cancellations.
The potential $75 million loss for athletics would account for about 58% of that department's budgeted income, mainly due to decreases in ticket sales and NCAA member distribution.
Associate vice president of university finance Julie Tonneson said the worst-case forecast calls for a decrease in newly enrolled students — freshmen or transfers — of as much as 20%. University President Joan Gabel said she'll propose a tuition freeze for the next academic year.