Northwestern to defer projects, filling faculty positions to make up for projected deficit


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Northwestern’s “We Will” campaign has currently raised $3.55 billion of its $3.75 billion goal. Despite the fundraising, the University is projected to have a deficit in the coming fiscal year.

Allie Goulding, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern will need to be more “strategic” with spending moving forward to keep expenses in line with projected revenues, University President Morton Schapiro and Provost Jonathan Holloway announced in a Thursday email to faculty and staff.

Schapiro and Holloway said they plan to make the email part of an annual update to faculty and staff on the University’s priorities and financial status in order to remain transparent.

University expenses are projected to outpace revenue in the coming fiscal year, Holloway said during Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, with the deficit expected to be between $50 million and $100 million.

NU’s operating budget is approximately $2 billion, Holloway said at the meeting, making the deficit more of an “annoyance” than a serious problem. The University’s “We Will” campaign is running 20 months ahead of schedule and raised $3.55 billion of its $3.75 billion goal at the end of the fiscal year in August 2017, according to the email.

Despite the fundraising efforts, “significant investments” in faculty recruitment, financial aid and enhancement of the physical campus may have contributed to the impending deficit. There is no single cause for the deficit, according to the email.

Though the University will not cut back on all investments, it will have to focus on certain projects that align with NU’s “institutional priorities,” the email said.

As a result, the University will likely defer some “facilities and information technology projects” and potentially defer filling currently vacant or new staff positions to bring the University back to positive operating results by the close of the 2019 fiscal year, Schapiro and Holloway said in the email.

The University is also considering options to increase revenues in the 2019 fiscal year, the email said.

A new “Resource Planning Process” was introduced to manage and predict the University’s revenue and expense trends within a fiscal year. The process for approval of facilities and information technology projects and major equipment purchases will be refined as well, the email said.

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