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SLU sees $20M deficit this fiscal year, outlines cuts

"Depending on the final enrollment and residential outcomes, more reductions may be required"
Credit: SLBJ
Saint Louis University President Fred Pestello

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University said Monday it anticipates a more than $20 million budget deficit this fiscal year, with the number possibly rising to $75 million in fiscal 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The school previously hinted at possible cost-reduction measures.

President Fred Pestello on Monday outlined actions it will take:

  • Retirement 403(b) match will be suspended for one year, saving $30 million
  • Eliminate the majority of 320 open positions at SLUCare, its health arm, saving $8 million
  • Defer merit pay increases, saving $7.5 million
  • Suspend travel by faculty and staff except that which generates revenue (development, enrollment), saving $4 million
  • Reduce salaries of vice presidents and academic deans by 10%, president by 20%, saving $1 million
  • Cap vacation payouts at 40 hours
  • Strategic hires must be approved by the president's cabinet

Pestello said the deficit numbers — $20 million for fiscal 2020, driven by $9.7 million in room and board refunds, and up to $75 million for fiscal 2021 — already take into account $60 million in budget cuts, plus $5.1 million from the CARES Act, the federal law passed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic's devastating effects on the economy. "This means that, depending on the final enrollment and residential outcomes, more reductions may be required," Pestello said.

He said the size of the school's financial gap will largely depend on whether face-to-face instruction can resume in the fall.

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