Review of Our Existing Reserves and the Excess Margins
Growth in Non-Recurring General Funds – Overall the College experienced growth in nearly all non-general fund account categories. We experienced significant growth in our study abroad/away scholarship accounts as past revenue was realized and limited opportunities to disburse the funds. These funds are expected to be utilized when these programs resume. Faculty research, start-up, professional development accounts also increased significantly due to limited opportunities to travel for their research. These accounts are funded from OCCI revenues and with the significant decline these funds will not be available at previous levels for faculty. As opportunities for travel open, we are expecting the accrued balances to decline over the next couple of years.
Departmental General Fund Special Projects also increased significantly over the past year. These funds are used to support special initiatives, OCCI salaries, scholarships and faculty research accounts. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to use these funds. However, the growth we experienced in this sub-fund is higher than it should be. Special emphasis will be placed on these accounts to make sure they are used appropriately and efficiently to avoid future growth, similar to our other sub-funds our restricted fund accounts also grew over the past year. Many of these accounts are earmarked for scholarships and specific activities that were not possible due to the pandemic. However, we are developing College policies to set expectations for endowment and gift spending to ensure funds are used appropriately and in a timely fashion.
Department of African American & African Studies (AAAS) – The College’s financial commitments to AAAS are contingent on salary savings from retirements. With the financial hardships associated with the pandemic, there are competing demands for salary savings to be used to cover other projected shortfalls. AAAS remains a priority for the College; it is attracting top scholars in the field further elevating the demands for competitive salaries and hiring packages.
Department of Theatre – The Department of Theatre depends on revenue generated from its season of performances that they were unable to produce in the past two seasons. This revenue provides our students with real-world production experience and may only be the opportunity for them to have this experience. In the current environment, the Department of Theatre has lost significant revenue that the College will need to continue to cover these shortfalls from our auxiliary reserves to ensure that our students receive a highly engaged education in Theatre.