Ohio University

Board of Trustees approves FY21 budget, receives One OHIO update

Published: August 18, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Board approves capital plans during online meetings

The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved the FY21 budget and received an update on the One OHIO initiative during its meetings Aug. 17 and 18.

The Board held its annual retreat as part of the meetings, which were conducted online in accordance with Ohio House Bill 197, which allows for public meetings to be conducted in an online environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic through Dec. 1, 2020.

One OHIO update

University leadership provided an update on the status of the One OHIO Strategic Framework Initiative. The goals of One OHIO include increased system-wide efficiency, new revenue streams, and a unified OHIO community who engage the University mission across all the locations that comprise our dynamic engagement ecosystem.

The presentation included a status update on the financial impact of gains in efficiency as a result of One OHIO, opportunities identified for expanding existing programs and creating new programs to meet community needs, and alignment and integration efforts to unify the University community in support of our region.

FY21 Budget approval

The Board approved a final budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Trustees typically consider the budget at their June meeting, but the complex scenario planning necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic required the administration to postpone the request until the August meeting.

The University continues to actively manage its response to the pandemic within the context of a multi-year rebalancing initiative. The detailed budget that was approved is likely to change based on evolving enrollments and expenses related to the pandemic.

Prior to the approval, the University continued FY21 operations through a continuing budget resolution approved by the Board in June.

Additionally, the Board approved three resolutions related to tuition and fee rates for FY21, including:

  • Increasing six graduate course fees within the College of Business, and modifying broad-based fees charged by the Registrar's office.
  • An amendment to a May 2020 resolution that waived the non-resident surcharge to out-of-state graduate students who received a baccalaureate degree from a college or university in Ohio, pending review by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). ODHE has since advised that there must be a minimal fee of $1 per credit hour. The new resolution established the fee at that rate for graduate students, with the exception of those in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. The revision will be submitted to ODHE for final approval.
  • A resolution to establish a rate of $200 per course for credit evaluation and assessment as part of the University’s Prior Learning Assessment program.

Capital Improvement Plan/Century Bond funding

The Board approved the FY21 Capital Improvement Plan, which has been updated significantly due to impacts of COVID-19. Additionally, the Board approved a resolution that requires that the FY21 Century Bond $10 million deferred maintenance allocation be used on an emergency basis only.

University leadership provided an update on the Capital Improvement Budget. The plan that was approved includes an update based upon completed project reviews since the June 2020 meeting. Leadership reexamined deferred maintenance and programmatic priorities as part of the review, in conjunction with operating budget constraints and the current strategic plan. The Capital Improvement Budget reduces scheduled FY21-22 new project starts from $101.7 million to $41.1 million, a 60 percent reduction. All in-progress projects have been reviewed to ensure continued alignment with current strategic objectives.

Capital projects

The Board approved one new repair project and two updated capital project budgets.

The projects are:

  • Campus steam system repairs: This $500,000 project will address campus steam distribution and tunnel improvements to aging infrastructure. This work is scheduled to be done during Summer 2021 in coordination with the summer campus steam outage.
  • Scripps Hall ground floor esports renovation: A budget amendment of $100,000, which brings the total project budget to $750,000, was approved. This budget amendment includes construction contingency that will be used to address unforeseen conditions during construction. Any unused contingency will be returned upon closeout of the project. This project, initially approved by the Board in January 2020, is part of a presidential initiative to bring competitive esports to OHIO. The space, intended for use as a classroom, a lab, a student club practice facility, and a competition space, will be comprised of a competition room, club practice room, social gaming area, office space and a broadcast booth. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in September; however, bids opened in May were in excess of the construction budget, in part due to uncertainty around the pandemic, and could not be awarded. The project scope was reduced and new bids were recently received.
  • Clippinger Renovation Strategy, Phase 2: This project was previously approved by the Board in June 2019 with a budget of $33.6 million, including $26.2 million in state capital appropriations and $7.4 million in Century Bond funding. The project is well under way, but due to uncertainties in near-term state capital appropriations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board was asked to supplant reduced or delayed state appropriations with available bond proceeds in order to maintain the project schedule. The overall budget will remain unchanged.

Student Code of Conduct revisions

The Board approved Student Code of Conduct revisions necessitated by new Title IX regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education. Ohio University is amending University policy as a result of the regulations, which in turn requires revisions to the Student Code of Conduct.

The changes include updated titles for sexual misconduct violations, an expanded scope to clarify the difference between the sexual misconduct process and the community standards process, and minor edits to reflect a name change to the sexual misconduct policy and process.

In other business, the Board:

  • Received a report from President M. Duane Nellis that included plans for reopening for the fall semester, leadership updates, the OhioHealth partnership and Ohio University points of pride.
  • Received an update on the institutional accreditation process after OHIO’s regional accreditor phased out the AQIP Accreditation Pathway and placed OHIO on the Open Pathway. Planning is underway for the next reaffirmation of accreditation, and on Sept. 1, new criteria for accreditation will be in force.
  • Approved emeriti status for two faculty members upon their retirement from the University.
  • Received notification of early graduation plans offered by two academic programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased need for health care professionals. The programs are the second-year nursing students in the associate’s degree program on the Zanesville Campus and the master’s students in the physician assistant program on the Dublin Campus. These degrees will be conferred in October once degree requirements are met.
  • Received an annual report from leadership of Student Senate.
  • Appointed Eileen Sheil as a National Trustee for a three-year term expiring Aug. 18, 2023. Sheil has served as a voting member of the Board of Trustees since May 2018, and resigned the post after moving out of state.
  • Received the annual Risk and Insurance Report. Ohio University participates in the Inter-University Council Risk Management and Insurance Consortium, which demonstrated that OHIO saved an estimated $800,000 by participating in the consortium.
  • Approved the creation of a pair of quasi-endowments. The Heritage College Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Quasi-Endowment was established in the amount of $2 million. The TBS program is integral to the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s efforts to train physician-scientists who complete combined DO/PhD degrees. And the Research Division Translational Biomedical Sciences Quasi-Endowment was established in the amount of $2 million. As units serving the entire University, the Research Division and Graduate College host and support interdisciplinary programs like TBS.
  • Established a new quasi-endowment, sourced from Heritage College working capital originating from past agreements with its clinical partners. Funding from this endowment will provide ongoing support to enhance osteopathic medical education.
  • Approved a certificate of appreciation for former Chief Audit Executive Jeff Davis, who recently left his position with Ohio University.

The full agenda for the Aug. 17-18 Board of Trustees meetings can be found on the Trustees’ website.