Wayne State University officials say the school might have to cut up to $60 million from next year's budget as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That number would represent about 15% of the institution's current projected budget.
University president M. Roy Wilson says while plans are in place for varying levels of financial impact, the university will not be laying-off employees yet.
“The reason why I stopped short of saying we’re going to lay people off is we still don’t know what the financial implications totally are going to be because it’s so dependent on factors that we don’t have much control over, for example, enrollment,” Wilson said.
Wilson says Wayne State has seen an uptick in enrollment for the fall semester so far. He says it’s too soon to tell if that trend will hold.
The University is making plans in case students cannot return to campus in the fall. Officials say that means improving how the school conducts classes online.
Wilson says the shift to web-based learning Wayne State made at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak was not a true online experience.
“Some were online but they were more remote classes," Wilson said. "And now that we have more time we really want to make sure we have a really good online experience for the students and that takes a lot of preparation.”
Wilson says while he hopes students will be able to go back to campus in the fall, he thinks a full return to normal is unlikely.