Tressel talks layoffs and YSU footing during COVID-19

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YSU is facing $5.7 million in losses

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – While Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel says he has some tough decisions ahead, he also thinks the university is in a position to weather the COVID-19 pandemic into the new academic year.

Tressel sent out a letter Friday updating the state of operations at YSU and what the future may hold for students, faculty and staff.

He said there have been talks about finances and the subject of layoffs and furloughs has been discussed, saying the pandemic created several significant new financial challenges.

The university is facing a $2.2 million cut in state funding, a $3 million revenue loss via student fee refunds, and a $500,000 drop in the university’s investment income.

Tressel pointed out that with those losses, the university is set to receive $10.4 million through the CARES Act., half of which will be paid to students on financial assistance. The other half will be used to offset university costs.

No decision has been made about layoffs, Tressel said.

He said the focus groups formed earlier this month are considering every option available heading into the next fiscal year.

“FY 20, I think we are going to be fine. FY 21 is a tough one because it has so many unknowns. What will our state subsidy be? Will it be cut that 20% that everybody is saying? Will it be more? And it’s all dependent on something else, which is Ohio revenue,” Tressel said.

YSU could make up some of its shortfalls from students who, because of the pandemic, may decide not to go back to other colleges and enroll locally. He also said that YSU hasn’t taken as large of a hit in housing and meal plan refunds as some other schools because they are not a large residential campus.

Tressel also sees more opportunity in online class offerings.

“We may not have all the answers at this point, but we do know that most every aspect of ‘doing college’ will be different in some ways, at YSU and across the nation,” Tressel said.

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