The University of Missouri–St. Louis and the University of Missouri System as a whole are facing a period of significant budgetary constraints due the COVID-19 pandemic. UM System President Choi estimated the overall loss across the UM System could exceed $180 million in the short- and long-term.

Each university was directed to develop plans for immediate budgetary reductions to address FY20 deficits which included a $7.9 million state appropriations withhold to UMSL coming in the final quarter of the fiscal year. Universities were also directed to revise FY21 budgets to reflect long-term reductions in revenue.

This microsite was created to explain UMSL’s current financial situation and the process to find a way forward. It also gives students, faculty, staff and the public an avenue for input. The site contains a section on frequently asked questions and a link to a suggestion box – which will provide the sender anonymity. It also includes an archive of budget messages.

Refer to this site regularly, as it will be updated often. Please access this site to participate in the process; your suggestions and support are important.


To address the FY20 deficit, UMSL took a number of immediate measures to reduce expenditures including implementing strict limitations on spending, hiring restrictions, reducing non-essential capital spending, and canceling of contracts as appropriate.

In preparation for FY21 budget planning, UMSL sought to identify $23.3 million in operational expenditure reductions based on the following assumptions:

  • $6.3M - Reoccurring budget shortfall
  • $4.4M - Investments in units - faculty and staff compensation
  • $1.2M - Benefit increase of five percent
  • $4.7M - Elimination of online fees assessed to students
  • $4.7M - Anticipated state appropriations withhold

Each college, school and division leader prepared budget reduction scenarios ranging from 5 to 20 percent for consideration, allowing the university to ensure that cuts would not be made across-the-board. Instead, throughout the process, budgetary decisions focused on a set of systemwide priorities established by the president and chancellors:

  • Ensuring our students receive a high-quality education.
  • Supporting retention and recruitment of our students.
  • Continuing sponsored research and scholarship, especially related to the public health crisis and precision health.
  • Supporting the university’s response to the public health crisis and other engagement activities.
  • Supporting activities that grow revenues for the university.

Numerous groups and individuals were consulted during this process, including unit leaders, Finance and Administration, University Budget and Planning Committee, and Human Resources with final decisions being made by the chancellor and her senior advisors.

The unfortunate truth is a budget reduction of this magnitude required some form of workforce reduction including layoffs, unpaid leaves and temporary salary reductions. Employee compensation accounts for about 74% of operational expenditures. 

Beginning June 1, 2020, the university enacted a university-wide salary reduction that affects just over half of our faculty and staff, including those in grant-funded positions, based on the following distributions. Data as of May 19, 2020:

Annual Rate % Reduction Employee Count
$0-$49,999 0% 758 (48%)
$50,000-$74,999 2.5% 493 (31%)
$75,000-$99,999 5% 183 (11%)
$100,000-$124,999 7.5% 73 (5%)
$125,000 and up 10% 87 (5%)
Temporary Pay Reductions are governed by HR-710, which indicates that an employee's rate of pay at the time of reduction may not exceed 10 percent.

These reductions were planned for up to 12 months, but was assessed every three months given evolving budgetary impacts. In total, this action would realize an annual savings of $4,386,893 (Staff share: $1,559,165 / Faculty share: $2,540,028 / Deans share: $287,700). Q&As for payroll reduction measures are posted at HR-710 and HR-720. Based on state funding and federal stimulus funding, the university ended the temporary pay reductions effective February 1, 2021.

All measures taken are governed by HR-710 Payroll Reduction Measures for Administrative, Service and Support Employees for staff or HR-720 Policy on Salary Reductions for Faculty and Other Academic Appointees for faculty. In addition, several actions have specific policies available at the UM System website:

  • Temporary Pay Rate Reduction
  • Temporary FTE Reduction  
  • Short-Term Furlough
  • Long-Term Furlough
  • Seasonal Leave of Absence
  • Excused Absence without Pay
  • Layoff and Transition Assistance
  • Termination

Layoffs and terminations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with Human Resources

Layoffs and terminations involve a planning meeting/review with HR to review, case-by-case, the operational justification (layoffs), proper disciplinary process (terminations) and equity (all separations) of the decisions.

This layoff/termination planning review typically includes:

  • Articulating the specific operational decisions (program elimination, consolidation, reorganization, workload reductions, etc.) that are driving the need to lay off employees.
  • Exploring less severe measures (other open jobs on campus? Temporary FTE reduction, etc.)
  • Reviewing the list of employees selected for layoff based on specific operational decisions being made with each College, School and Division. 
  • When multiple employees within a job classification are impacted the employees will be selected for layoff based on the following:
    • Abilities (Performance)
    • Skills
    • Training
    • Length of Service (All these being equal, length of service would be considered and the least senior employee would be selected).
  • Avoiding a disproportionate impact on any protected group (race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, disability status or veteran status). 
    • All employees within jobs are reviewed and the CSD is expected to justify why they selected the employees (e.g. who are doing the same work) they did based on reasons that are consistent with their operational decision or documented performance issues.

During remote work, departments are accountable for adjusting staffing and scheduling based on actual workloads

Staffing and scheduling decisions (furloughs, temporary FTE reductions, etc.) have typically impacted entire departments (e.g. Facilities) or entire job groups (e.g. Maintenance, Custodial) and have not been subject to case-by-case review because they impacted every employee within those groups.

Summary of Actions
Reduction Measure Number of Instances
Job Elimination (workforce reduction actions including part-time terminations, faculty non-renewals & layoffs) 62
Pay and FTE Reductions 802
Planned absences (furloughs, leaves and planned absences) 100

Figures above reflect actions taken and recorded in the human resources system as of September 4, 2020. Numbers in the above table will be updated as new data is available.

We expect to share an outline in late spring.

Yes. This form allows you to easily sign up for future pay reductions at 2%, 5% or 10% for up to three months. Please keep in mind that these actions will not eliminate the need for other steps to reduce payroll costs during this unprecedented pandemic and the related financial uncertainty. Those who volunteer may still be subject to other measures, which include furloughs, layoffs, salary reductions or other actions.

Yes. UMSL Chancellor Sobolik hosted a livestream at 2 p.m., Friday, May 29, where she provided an update on university budget planning including where we have been, what we have accomplished to date, and new insights into the unprecedented financial challenges that are to come. Additionally, updates on academic, faculty, staff and student initiatives were shared as well as reorganizations and other areas related to the university’s response to the public health crisis. Marie Mora, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Tanika Busch, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration and CFO, joined the chancellor. Questions and topics of interest were solicited from the UMSL community prior to the livestream, which leadership will also address. View the livestream recording.


No one knows the campus better than you. Please send ideas to help UMSL raise revenue or reduce expenditures to ensure the campus continues its tradition of providing classroom excellence and producing successful, work-ready graduates.

Suggestion Form

FY20 Year Total Budget

Tuition and Fees $128,352,508
Scholarship Allowance (40,550,394)
Net Tuition & Fees $87,802,114
State Appropriation 55,914,174
Grant and Contract 39,523,025
Gift Revenues 14,748,708
Endowment & Investment Income 6,604,689
Sales & Services Income 11,494,459
Other Incomes 5,682,503
Total Revenues $221,769,673
Total Transfers $449,813
Salaries & Wages $109,620,290
Benefit Expense 34,988,152
Compensation $144,608,442
Other Expenses 76,025,079
Total Expenditures $220,633,522
Change in Net Assets $1,585,965



FY20 Unrestricted Current Budget

Net Tuition/Fees $105,365,346 57%
State Appropriations $55,914,174 30%
Other $22,122,040 12%
Salaries/Wages $91,361,466 50%
Employee Benefits $29,776,603 16%
Other $60,074,896 33%