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The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many economic challenges for higher education, but those challenges have also opened the door for some unique budget opportunities thanks to an infusion of one-time federal funding meant to help universities recover from the pandemic and continue to meet students’ needs.
Between three federal acts passed in 2020-21 and the one-time funds in MSU Denver’s General Fund, the University is allocating a total of $76.5 million in one-time spending to projects and initiatives not covered by our base budget. These investments form the foundation of MSU Denver’s “recover, stabilize, build” philosophy as the University emerges from the pandemic and resumes implementation of the Strategic Plan 2030.
Below is an overview of presidential budget priorities and a synopsis of the one-time spending in the 2021-22 budget, decisions that were made with input from leaders all over campus.
While the federal government has provided $37.5 million in direct aid to MSU Denver students in the same acts that have provided institutional one-time funding, we’re allocating additional one-time funds to support our students’ emergency, transportation and housing needs.
Investing in our built environment and our learning infrastructure, including the buildings and grounds of the Auraria Campus as well as our online teaching and learning capabilities, will ensure that all Roadrunners have the modern facilities they need to teach, learn, work and thrive.
Historic underfunding of the University has forced us to prioritize current operations year after year at the expense of foundational support systems such as Information Technology, Human Resources, Financial Aid and other processes. We must invest in our institutional engine room to provide students, faculty and staff with the support they need.
We are launching MSU Denver’s first institutional fundraising campaign in the coming year, which will bring in needed funding while also building critical relationships and bolstering our reputation in the community.
Thousands of students saw their dreams interrupted during the pandemic, and we have a responsibility to help them realize that their dreams are still within reach. Raising awareness of our innovative, nimble, student-centric education and social-mobility opportunities among those who will power our society’s comeback is essential to our mission. This requires strategic enrollment and marketing investments now to ensure a strong student pipeline for the future.
Our faculty and staff reflect the Roadrunner spirit of resiliency and determination, and we are using this opportunity to show appreciation for their extraordinary efforts to make education possible for our students. Compensation makes up two-thirds of the University’s base budget, and investing in our people with one-time funds not only recognizes our dedicated and talented faculty and staff but helps us more effectively support students.
As responsible stewards of public funds, we are also setting aside funds and returning money to departments significantly hurt financially by the pandemic.