University of Minnesota-Crookston deals with COVID-19 budget factors

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Leaders at the University of Minnesota-Crookston are in the process of determining various budget scenarios as it deals with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to COVID-19, University of Minnesota-Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause said the university’s enrollment numbers were looking strong, but now the university, along with hundreds of schools across the nation, has entered uncharted territory.

“We don't necessarily know the impacts that it could have,” she said.

UMC has estimated it will refund students about $600,000 in fees related to housing, dining, student service fee, course fees and parking, according to a slide from a recent UMC town hall meeting.

The university was working with a budgeted tuition of $16,611,392 in the current fiscal year, but an updated projection sits around $16,607,844, according to the university.


In the best case scenario, there would be 740 students on campus with 1,050 online with a tuition revenue of around $16.1 million. In a moderate situation, there would be around 640 students on campus with 1,050 online, bringing in a tuition revenue of $15.1 million. Finally, the worst case scenario would involve no on-campus classes for the upcoming fall semester with around $12.3 million coming from online class revenue. Tuition makes up about 38% of the university’s total revenue sources.

“Right now ... it's a little premature, but we’re just trying to get a better sense of the financial and economic impact to the university here in Crookston and to the system, and everybody,” Holz-Clause said.

The university and the system will have a better grasp on what may be in store for the budgets in the coming months as the situation around the pandemic continues to change.

In the past several weeks, more than 200 administrators across the University of Minnesota System have taken a voluntary five-day pay cut between April and the end of June. She said a number of administrators at UMC participated in that cut.

A U.S. Department of Education document shows that the University of Minnesota-Crookston should be receiving around $864,000 in CARES Act funding, with about half of that going directly to student relief. However, the entire University of Minnesota System should see around $35.5 million in aid -- the most going to the Twins Cities campus with about $25.7 million. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported last week that the system could lose from $75 million to $315 million in revenue as a result of the pandemic.

The system is working on how it will distribute the funds.

Minnesota’s largest state college system, Minnesota State, is set to receive around $93 million in CARES Act funding. That system may take a hit of at least $25 million as a result of the pandemic, the Star-Tribune reported.

The University of Minnesota System’s Board of Regents decided last week to implement a tuition freeze for the fall semester.


The proposal, which was brought forth by University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, was approved during a special Board of Regents meeting held Tuesday, April 21.

This tuition freeze includes all new and returning students systemwide with the exception of those in the medical school, dentistry and three professional masters degrees in the College of Science and Engineering on the Twin Cities campus. Those exemptions are based on strong demand, national rankings and market comparisons, according to the document packet for the meeting.

For students on the Crookston campus, Holz-Clause said she hopes that students will be pleased to know that they can have a better budgeting plan for the next school year.

“That was the reason that it was done as a way to help students across the system,” she said.

Gabel said she intends to recommend a balanced operating budget, based on a scenario in which the university returns to regular operations, including in-person classroom instruction, by the start of the fall semester, according to a news release. The proposed budget would be the base from which contingency plans are developed in case the university needs to extend reduced operations beyond the start of the fall semester.

University of Minnesota-Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause (Andrew Haffner/Grand Forks Herald)
University of Minnesota-Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause. (Andrew Haffner/Grand Forks Herald)

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 701-780-1134.
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