COVID-19

WMU facing potential $85 million shortfall

The university plans to cut staff to balance budget.

Western Michigan University is facing a major loss of funding in the fall due to the COVID-19 crisis.

University officials presented the bleak outlook during a budget brief recorded May 1 and posted to Youtube Tuesday.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

Jennifer Bott, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that the university has already lost about $45 million this year. Those losses are a result of lost tuition from students, lost revenue from shows at Miller Auditorium, and lost appropriations from the state, among other things.

Bott said the university projects future losses could be even worse – between $45 and $85 million in the next fiscal year.

“It’s really important to realize that every university is facing the same … ‘existential moment,'” said Bott.

WMU will have to cut staff, said Bott.

“Our choices are not the best choices,” she said. “They are the least worst choices.”

Staff cuts will be handled in phases between now and September when the fall semester is expected to begin.

Other money saving options include closing buildings, cancelling construction projects, and using emergency funding sources.

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.