Cal Lutheran is prepared to overcome COVID-19 financial losses


CLU has been slowly introducing drought-resistant plants throughout the campus due to the little rainfall Southern California has received in the past few years. CLU has just planted drought-resistant plants in front of the sign along Mt. Clef Rd. and Olsen Rd.

Ana Park, Reporter

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, California Lutheran University students have been asked to leave the residence halls, university events and fundraisers have been postponed and classes have moved online. These factors have and will continue to impact financial stability, but the university has taken steps to help mitigate the outcomes. 

The university is eager to use the support of federal programs as they come available to minimize the loss of funds.

“There will be some cost savings to offset the loss of revenue in such items as food, printing, utilities, equipment rentals and travel related costs,” Karen Davis, vice president of Administration and Finance, said. “The CARES Act funding will assist in covering any net impact.”

The CARES Act is a federal stimulus package passed last week. The act allocated $14.3 billion in funding to higher education, as well as offering the option to defer student loans for up to six months. 

 “The largest impact to the university’s budget will be the credits being given to all the residential students for room and board since the students had to move out of the residential halls,” Davis said. “The University does have ongoing costs to maintain operations, [but] faculty and staff are still working to serve our students and continue to be paid for that work.” 

According to Residence Life, all undergraduate students who were living in the residence halls and moved out by March 31 are entitled to credit for six out of the 15 weeks that students reside in on-campus housing. Eligible students are entitled to a 40% credit on their student account. 

Processing of credits began April 1, and will first apply to current outstanding balances, then to summer and fall classes for returning students. 

Students who are not returning may request a refund instead.

In addition to the CARES Act, “the university has financial reserves as part of its sustainability plans in case of emergency situations that could negatively impact the finances of the University. These reserves will help the university weather through this unexpected situation,” Davis said. 

Every year Cal Lutheran holds an annual Giving Day, a fundraiser that supplements the university’s budget across programs such as athletics, specific academic departments and Student Life. Giving Day has been postponed until May 6 and has been rebranded as Cal Lutheran Cares Day, aiming to better represent the COVID-19 situation.

“We will share stories online that highlight how we are connected,” Regina Biddings-Muro, vice president of University Advancement said in an email statement. “In addition, your generosity to the University during Cal Lutheran Cares Day will ensure our students have the resources to stay safe and well.”

Davis said that while the university anticipates some donors may not be able to offer the same level of financial support, “others have been reaching out to ask how they can support students during this unprecedented pandemic.”

Executive Director of the Office of Budget and Planning John Carrigan agrees with Davis, adding that while the university will be facing some financial challenges in the future due to this crisis, the university can access its emergency resources to persevere.

Classes will continue online through the end of the semester, and summer classes are scheduled to continue as normal, shifting to online if mandated by public health guidelines.