When the total amount lost by schools due to coronavirus is finally tallied, it’s probably going to be in the hundreds of billions.

The Auburn Plainsman reports:

Auburn University loses $15 million from pandemic

As Auburn University approaches four months since its initial move to remote instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution has reported $15 million in losses between the transition online in the spring and its recent reopening for summer.

The Plainsman recently spoke to Kelli Shomaker, Auburn’s chief financial officer, for a more in-depth look into the University’s finances before students, faculty and staff return for the fall.

Q: How much money was refunded back to students in total for the spring and first summer semester?

Shomaker: The University refunded approximately $13 million for room and board as well as study abroad fees for the spring semester. There have been no student refunds for the first summer semester.

Q: What does the University’s net financial impact from the pandemic up to this point look like?

The net estimated impact to Auburn University through the first summer semester is around $15 million.

Q: How is the University planning to use its CARES Act grant?

Auburn University received $15.6 million [in federal relief]. Half was returned to students in the form of financial aid. The other half was used to offset refunds of spring housing and dining.

Q: Has funding from the Alabama state government remained steady since campus closed in March?

We have experienced no changes in funding from the state of Alabama. We will receive an increase in state funds when the new state budget begins on Oct. 1 of approximately 3.7%.

Q: Was the decision to reopen campus on June 29 made from a financial standpoint?

No. The decision was made based on two of President Gogue’s guiding principles for the University’s conduct during the pandemic. First, protect the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff and, second, continue the Auburn mission of instruction, research and outreach.


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