At today’s College Finances and Coronavirus Crisis remote town hall, Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr notified students of plans to freeze salaries for senior administrators. If the coronavirus situation worsens, the president and vice presidents may face salary cuts. Havard has already cut salaries of its senior leadership.
President Starr also elaborated on Pomona’s plans going into the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year. Currently, the Pomona administration is planning for a Fall 2020 on-campus start. However, the president acknowledged that the possibility of canceling the fall semester and replacing it with spring and summer semesters in 2021 is “not off the table,” as other Claremont Colleges consider this scenario. President Starr clarified that the college “will not [c]harge room and board” if classes continue to take place online, though tuition will not be decreased. The president also indicated that the decision to continue with online classes into the 2020-2021 school year will be made in July, though she specified that “[the college] need[s] clear information before [it] can make a call.”
Pomona has also begun planning for a 10-20% drop in freshman enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year and has begun planning accordingly. President Starr confirmed that Pomona “will be fundraising to make up losses and additional expenditures.” When asked how Pomona will decide which, if any, of its employees might be laid off due to budget shortfalls, the president responded that the discussion will take place between faculty, staff, and trustees. As of now, “no decisions have been made.” The college will not be diverting funding from the remodeling of Pomona’s Rains Center, as the already-allocated funds have been “restricted” by interested donors.
Regarding summer opportunities for students, President Starr stated that Pomona has “turned to already raised funds and [its] current budget to provide summer work. [The college] will ask all students to take only one of these opportunities so that [it] can make sure as many students as possible are funded.” Students on financial aid will be given priority for these funding opportunities.
If students do return to campus in the fall, President Starr, who is also chairing the California Commission on Reopening Higher Ed for Private Colleges, noted that it “is possible” they will be restricted to remaining on campus or in the town of Claremont to prevent interaction with potentially-infected people. According to the president, guidelines will be released by early June.