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COVID and Financial Responsibility

UCM at night

Before the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. economy, UC Merced was ramping up efforts to be more transparent about its financial picture. That effort is exponentially more important now, as the health crisis cut deeply into the university’s usual revenue sources. Campus leadership continues to work strategically to exercise fiscal responsibility while keeping the campus community engaged with town halls, surveys and meetings with key stakeholders.

Campus Financial Responsibility Town Halls

Feb. 12, 2021: Interim Chief Financial Officer Kurt Schnier hosted the virtual meeting, laying out the university’s financial situation and outlining paths to cost savings and revenue growth in the short and long term. Key takeaways from the town hall:

  • Current measures are not sufficient to meet campus cost-saving targets
  • Need to begin to plan for cost reductions in fiscal year 2021-22
  • Cost saving measures that may be necessary:
    • Continued reductions in non-salary expenditures
    • Continued position control
    • Revisitation of salary/time savings program

Town hall content: video presentation slides | questions and answers


Dec. 5, 2020: The first Financial Responsibility Town Hall, hosted by Interim Chief Financial Officer Kurt Schnier and Associate Chancellor Luanna Putney, gave the campus community an opportunity to ask questions about fiscal steps taken and those that might be employed in the future.

Town hall content: video | audio | presentation slides | questions and answers

Fiscal Responsibility Survey

On Dec. 7-10, an informal survey informal survey asked the campus community to weigh in some questions about fiscal responsibility and to offer their own ideas. There were 671 surveys completed.

One question was: What cost-saving measures are you taking? Answers included:

  • Taking on extra/different work to reduce payroll expenses
  • Boosting employee morale to prevent attrition.

Another question: What can the campus community do to save additional money? Among the answers:

  • Hold units responsible for cost savings in visibly transparent ways
  • Use fewer and less expensive consultants

Go here for more details about the survey results.

Financial Responsibility Communications