CCU leaders discuss plans to recover from financial turmoil, welcome students on campus in the fall

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Leaders at Coastal Carolina University are preparing for a 15% decrease in enrollment.

The Board of Trustees met virtually this morning to approve a new budget. Two were presented; one if on-campus classes resume in the Fall, and another for the chance classes must stay online.

If classes were to stay online, the University stands to lose more than $40 million.

Shortly after the meeting ended, CCU officials announced on-campus instruction would resume in the Fall.

Something Board members agree, will help make up for the more than $20 million deficit they face.

“The focus needs to be that we’re opening and we’re gonna have professors in the classrooms and students in the classrooms face-to-face,” Board member, George Mullen said. “Obviously we’re gonna have concerns about everyone’s safety and health. We will make accommodations to students or to faculty who need it, but for the most part, we’re going to be in the classroom again come August.”

The typical freshman class is about 2,300 students, and leaders say they are anticipating less than 2,000 come this fall.

A few other ways the University says it can recover some funds is by canceling non-essential events, spending less in lease agreements and through a new program that encourages some employees to retire early. 

Nearly 230 CCU employees are eligible and if all were to participate, that could help Coastal Carolina save more than $6 million in payroll.

“We certainly don’t think we’re going to have that many folks exercise the option, it’s real early so we don’t have any real numbers coming in as far as participation, but I’m thinking if we get 20% I’d be optimistic,” David Frost, CCU Chief Financial Officer said.

The approved budget does not change tuition or housing fees, but does impact course fees in a few subject areas.

University President David DeCenzo says, the State must approve all staffing changes and all options are on the table, but the last action he will take are pay cuts.

“When we get to a point where we’re greater than that 15% [deficit in enrollment], I don’t have any ammunition left other than take pat cuts, but I’m saving that to the final simply because, quite frankly if we cut pay right now and then two weeks from now furlough somebody, doesn’t make sense,” DeCenzo explains.

President DeCenzo directed the University’s Emergency Management team to begin working on a plan to bring students back to campus.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is set for next Friday.

Count on News13 for updates.

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