Aquinas College announces budget adjustments

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Changes include leadership salary reductions, payroll reductions and a moratorium on staff travel and professional development

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Aquinas College will be taking actions that will address a budget shortfall in fiscal year 2021 that is the result of existing financial pressures and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the pandemic, we are experiencing an unprecedented time in the world. It has exacerbated increases in operating expenses and the national trend of declining enrollment,” President Kevin Quinn said. “Like many other higher-education institutions across the country, Aquinas College is confronting the unplanned impact of the pandemic on top of existing budget challenges, and unfortunately, we have to address these by reducing costs, including payroll costs.”

In order to alleviate the effects of the deficit, President Quinn and the College’s senior leadership have made difficult decisions. President Quinn will reduce his salary by 15% this year and the senior leadership have agreed to reduce their salaries by 10%. Athletics, marketing and other departments across campus will make significant reductions to their spending budgets. There will be a moratorium on staff travel and professional development, a hiring freeze and no salary increases in this budget year. The College will eliminate its discretionary contribution to employee retirement accounts for this budget year with plans to resume contributions next year.

The College will also be reducing payroll costs by not filling open positions, reducing some work schedules, removing some positions from its operating budget and eliminating some staff positions. No faculty positions will be involuntarily separated. 

“These are cost-saving measures that no one anticipated or wanted to take, but which now are necessary for the health and well-being of Aquinas College not just for this year, but also long into the future,” President Quinn said. “In line with our Dominican heritage, we will show care and gratitude for the good and talented employees who have served our students and supported this community.”

When developing the budget, the College leadership worked with the campus to focus on the institution’s Dominican mission, vision and strategic plan and prioritized students’ academic and cocurricular experience.

“The Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids established an important mission for this institution, one that is relevant for today’s marketplace,” President Quinn said. “We are focused on living up to that mission and that means living up to our outstanding academic reputation and our community of caring in order to help our students realize God’s purpose for their lives so that they can make a difference in the world. That is our promise to our Aquinas Saints now and for many years to come.”

The Board of Trustees approved the College’s fiscal year 2021 budget on Thursday, June 25.

Aquinas College launched Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020 in June and is preparing to welcome students to campus in August and begin in-class instruction as safely and responsibly as possible.