BGSU addresses budget shortfall, accelerates Focus on the Future Strategic Plan

Bowling Green State University has finalized budget reductions to address its $29 million projected shortfall. The University is restructuring non-faculty areas to save resources, implement the strategic plan and support its students.

Based on current modeling and despite federal stimulus funding, BGSU is projecting a $27 million budget gap in the education and general budget on the Bowling Green campus and $2 million at BGSU Firelands for fiscal year 2021.

This year, BGSU refunded and credited more than $11.5 million to students for their unused housing, dining and parking plans as a result of the transition to online courses in spring semester. Also, BGSU’s state share of instruction was reduced by $3.1 million. BGSU has begun distributing more than $6.5 million in federal emergency grants to its students.  

Before this global crisis, BGSU was in a sound financial position with growing enrollments and increases in academic quality. This progress allows the University to address budget reductions over a two-year period, unlike many peer institutions. The University has identified temporary reductions of more than $13 million, as well as permanent budget reductions of nearly $16 million in fiscal year 2021. This is the first step in the two-year plan to address the financial situation. In addition, in the second year, we will make the appropriate adjustments based on updated information regarding the financial impact of enrollment and state funding.

Faculty administrators, administrative and classified staff members will be temporarily furloughed based on salary tiers, saving the University approximately $3.1 million in fiscal year 2021.

BGSU President Rodney Rogers will take an annual salary reduction equivalent to 15 percent next fiscal year and will redirect any performance bonus to the BGSU Foundation, Inc. to support students for the second year in a row. Members of the University’s senior leadership team have agreed to take a reduction equivalent to 10 percent of their salary.

Travel, soft hiring freezes and operating budget reductions create a projected $9 million in temporary savings for fiscal year 2021. BGSU Firelands made temporary reductions of nearly $1 million. In addition, the University is eliminating unfilled positions and not filling positions that became open because of retirements or resignations and permanent operating budget reductions.

“Despite significant temporary budget reductions across all areas of the University, we had to make the very difficult decision to eliminate permanent faculty and staff positions," BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers said. "I recognize the impact this has on our campus community. Our employment decisions do not reflect the hard work and productivity of those who served in these eliminated positions. We are very appreciative of their valuable contributions."

Today, 17 faculty, 30 administrative staff members and 72 classified staff members were non-renewed or laid off from their positions. While flattening the organization is essential to addressing the budget shortfalls, the crisis has revealed the need to accelerate the strategic plan and create a more fully integrated and intentional experience for each student.

Dr. Joe Whitehead will expand his role to serve as provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs. To meet the needs of this upcoming generation, BGSU has established the Office of Student Success and Life Design. This will centralize career counseling and academic advising to ensure each student is life-ready upon graduation.

As graduates face one of the toughest periods in the job market, BGSU is consolidating resources into an Office of Career Placement and Student Outcomes that will help ensure students are placed at high-quality professional organizations and graduate programs. Cecilia Castellano will assume an expanded role as vice president for enrollment management and student outcomes.

These organizational changes to non-faculty areas will allow BGSU to be flatter, more efficient and poised to tell its story. Reporting to Cecilia Castellano, Amy West will serve as interim assistant vice president for marketing and brand strategy. She will provide leadership as the University refocuses efforts in marketing and branding. Alex Solis, deputy chief of staff in the Office of the President, will now also serve as university spokesperson.

Bob Moosbrugger will assume an expanded role as director of intercollegiate athletics, recreation and wellness and will provide oversight for all athletic facility operations as well as integrate student recreation and wellness programs to focus on the physical wellness of all students in addition to its Division I student-athletes.

These budget challenges also impact intercollegiate athletics programs. While BGSU remains committed to supporting Division I athletics programs, the University has made the difficult decision to eliminate the men’s baseball program due to financial constraints. This decision was not made lightly, and does not reflect the rich history of the program, including five Mid-American Conference championships and four NCAA regional appearances. BGSU will honor all of the athletic scholarships for the student-athletes affected and will continue to support them. These student-athletes are also immediately eligible for transfer to pursue new athletic opportunities, if they choose.

“This is not an easy day for BGSU, but I am confident we will be an even stronger community and University when we are on the other side of these changes. Our actions today will define the future of BGSU,” Rogers stated.

Media Contact:
Alex Solis
Deputy Chief of Staff and University Spokesperson
asolis@bgsu.edu