The presidents of the three state universities say they have lost millions of dollars as campuses shut down for the coronavirus pandemic.

University of Northern Iowa president, Mark Nook, spoke first during an on-line Board of Regents meeting. “Our current estimate of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus from March through the end of the summer session is $28 million,” Nook says. “This includes both lost revenue and additional expenses.”

Some of the lost revenue was money refunded to students when the Cedar Falls campus shut down. “Academic Affairs refunded $178,000 dollars in lab and course fees and study abroad costs, and will forgo $2.4 million in summer tuition,” Nook says. “Students received credits and refunds for their room and board contracts and certain student fees. Room and board refunds amounted to nearly seven million dollars and recreation health center fees combined for more than $546,000.”

Iowa State University President, Wendy Wintersteen, detail the projected losses from March through August.
“In early April, we conservatively estimated the impact of the COVID-19 crisis would total more than 88 million in refunds and lost revenue. And close to one million in additional expenses,” according to Wintersteen.

Wintersteen says lost revenue from canceled events continues to add up.”Our usually bustling campus has gone quiet as conferences, seminars, athletic events, and other performances have been called off. As the number of event cancellations increase — the amount of lost revenue will multiply,” Wintersteen says.

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld faces the same type of losses. “Since March and projected through August — the university not including UHIC, not including the health services, just the academic portion of the institution — will lose a little more than 76 million dollars,” Harreld says. The three schools will get more than 45 million dollars in federal pandemic relief.

Harreld says the federal money coming to Iowa City is small compared to the losses. He says they expect to get eight million for students and another eight million for the university. “And while we deeply appreciate these, I’d just like to remind you that they represent only ten-point-four-nine percent — less than 11 percent of the total losses we’ve incurred in this period,” Harreld says.

The Iowa Board of Regents is creating an advisory board to recommend ways to cut costs across the university system in the wake of the coronavirus loses.