Jan. 12 letter from Vice President Jed Shivers and Interim Provost Debbie Storrs

January 12, 2021

Dear UND community members,

As we begin the spring 2021 semester, this email is the first of many updates on the legislative process, UND’s budget planning, and the legislative outcomes that will partially determine our July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023 biennial budget. The 67th Legislative Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature, which convened on Jan. 5, 2021, meets throughout the spring, and dismisses on April 28 or sooner. President Armacost and other campus leaders will testify to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Jan. 18.

As the legislative process moves forward, we continue to plan for various budget scenarios based on initial higher education budget recommendations submitted by the State Board of Higher Education and the Governor’s office. Certainty about the state budget won’t arrive until the end of the legislative session, but many decisions for fiscal year 2022, beginning July 1, 2021, must happen before then. Our planning efforts will require vice presidents, deans, and directors to make sensible decisions as we anticipate future budgets with the best information we have. As typical, vice presidents will work with deans and directors to discuss any staff or faculty vacancies and prioritize which searches to move forward on during this uncertain time. We will continue to invest in the future and build our capacity to serve students and the state in a prudent manner.

In addition to state support, tuition revenue makes up approximately 35 percent of UND’s total revenue. As you may recall, we projected significant declines in enrollment and tuition revenue due to COVID for the current fiscal year (FY21), and we made significant expense reductions. UND benefited from federal CARES funding and better than anticipated fall 2020 enrollments. We continue to monitor enrollments for both the spring 2021 and fall 2021 semesters, and, as decisions on our state appropriations become clearer, we will make necessary adjustments to our budget planning for FY22 and FY23.

We are proud of the research and service of our faculty and the quality education they provide to students. We also recognize our dedicated staff whose commitment to service ensures that UND operates effectively and excels in our academic mission. This pride and recognition is shared by President Armacost and will inform his testimony to the legislature. We are optimistic about the future and remain grateful to our state legislators and governor who have historically provided more support to public higher education than most other states in the nation.

We will continue to update you on the legislative process and our expected financial position for the 2021-2023 biennium as we learn more. For your convenience, we have established a website where we will post pertinent legislative information throughout the session. Please join us at the faculty and staff zoom town hall on Jan. 14 at noon where we can address any questions you might have about the legislative process, UND’s planning processes and other topics.

Wishing you a good start to the spring semester,

Jed Shivers, Vice President for Finance and Operations
Debbie Storrs, Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs