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HR and Financial Update

March 25, 2020

To: Holy Cross Employees

Dear Colleagues,


As we move through this time of uncertainty we have been focused on two main priorities: the health and safety of our campus community and providing academic continuity for our students. These have been the guiding principles in all of our decisions over the past month. The incredible effort put forth by all of you to support those priorities is indicative of the extraordinary commitment of our community to caring for each other and to supporting our students’ academic progress. There are still many unknowns, and we will continue to address them together.


With our changes in operations and the fluctuations in the market, we must consider how we will manage our finances in order to minimize the consequences both this year and for the long term financial health of the College. First, we are focused on the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2020. Second, we are working to make decisions today that will stabilize our finances in the longer term.


At the same time, we are focused on protecting the livelihood of our employees. While many of you are able to work from home, others, particularly many of our hourly employees, are not. Many institutions have announced layoffs, furloughs or are limiting hours for employees. 


It is important for you to know that we are committed to ensuring that all of our employees receive their full pay through June 30, the end of the College’s fiscal year. This commitment will require some shared sacrifice on the part of all members of the community. Over the coming months, we will continue to assess how the pandemic, and its economic repercussions, impact our financial situation.


We would like to outline for you some of the ways in which we know COVID-19 is impacting our financials, as well as the decisions that we have made to help us manage these impacts going forward.


The pandemic is affecting our financial forecast for this fiscal year in a variety of ways:

  • With the move to remote learning, we will reimburse approximately $7 million in partial  room and board charges to students this year. 
  • We will experience additional revenue losses from conferences, catering, and athletics.
  • We rely on our endowment each year for 15% of operating spending. We project the endowment has experienced a loss of approximately 14.2% calendar year to date. 
  • We rely on gifts to our annual fund each year for 5% of operating spending. With the fluctuations in the market, we are uncertain about total charitable contributions this year.
  • While we will see some cost reductions due to our modified operations, they won’t offset the significant losses in revenue.


As a result, we have made a number of decisions in order to stabilize our financials for this year and for the long term: 

  • In order to share responsibility for maintaining our financial stability while continuing to pay all of our employees through June 30, we will be requiring all employees to use some amount of their total accrued vacation time by June 30. HR will provide additional information for what this means for each individual by April 15.  
  • We will be reviewing our leave (vacation, sick) practices and policies with an eye toward providing more financial stability and consistency with standard employment practices.
  • We are instituting a freeze on hiring until June 30 except for critical positions. 
  • We will be reviewing all planned expenses, including capital expenses, and working with divisions to prioritize their highest needs.


As we look at fiscal year 2021 we will also be evaluating all of the following:

  • Operating, capital, and personnel expenses
  • Continuation of the hiring freeze
  • The merit increase pool for fiscal 2021


We remain a community that is deeply committed to providing our students with the highest quality liberal arts education grounded in the Jesuit tradition and to caring for each other and our broader community. We know that you join us in a willingness to make some sacrifices now in order to support our mission and the educational experience that we offer at Holy Cross.


Sincerely,


Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President

Tracy Barlok, Vice President for Advancement

Jane Corr, Chief of Staff

Margaret Freije, Provost and Dean of the College

Marisa Gregg, Interim Vice President for Communications 

Dorothy Hauver, Vice President for Administration and Finance

Michele Murray, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students