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COVID-19 Resources

Message to staff about committing to pay salaries through April


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April 3, 2020  

Dear staff members, 

We want to express our deep appreciation for everything that you are doing for the University and for our students during these extraordinary times. These are difficult times for all of us as individuals, for our families and communities, and for the University. We admire the courage and dedication to UD’s values you are demonstrating. We are especially moved by your efforts to discern the best response to the pandemic based on the Catholic and Marianist values of solidarity and concern for the common good.

We are writing today to inform the campus community that UD is making a commitment to pay the full salaries and contribute to benefit plans of all staff members through April 30. As we indicated in our March 20 message and aligned with the values of the University, we are committed to paying employees and contributing to benefit plans as long as we responsibly can, but it is clear that difficult decisions will need to be made soon. 

As a tuition-dependent university, the majority of our cash and revenue comes in twice a year — in August and December — when students pay tuition for the coming semester. Crediting students for a portion of their Spring Term room and board charges was the right thing to do, but came with a significant financial cost. The necessary decision to deliver all summer session courses online will also reduce anticipated revenues in tuition, room, and board. Finally, given the economic impact of the pandemic on our students and their families, we must prepare for a fall semester in which our revenue is significantly lower due to a lower student headcount or, in the worst case, we are not able to welcome our students back in late August due to public health concerns. 

We have already taken aggressive steps to reduce expenses in the short term by instituting a hiring freeze and significantly curbing expenditures in numerous areas. We are continuing to work with the deans and vice presidents to develop strategies that will meet workforce needs and address the University's very real financial challenges. This planning will allow us to better understand and model expenditure and revenue trends — including the possible range for next year's student-driven revenue —  in an extremely uncertain and volatile environment. However, we will need to make difficult decisions in the next few weeks to reduce payroll costs through possible layoffs and other means. 

The financial uncertainty presented by the COVID circumstances are adding to the existing financial challenges associated with demographics, price sensitivity, climate for international enrollment, and other revenue pressures discussed with the campus community earlier this year. The Budget Alignment Steering Committee and working groups, which were established before the COVID-19 outbreak, are continuing to work toward strategies to reduce core spending and other structural changes. 

We know this information may cause anxiety, but we are committed to being as transparent as possible and to bringing clarity as soon as we can. We expect to update the campus community on such decisions before the end of April, after appropriate consultation with the President’s Cabinet, the President’s Council, and the Budget Alignment Steering Committee, and discussing our strategy with the Board of Trustees. We are planning a virtual town hall meeting that will be announced shortly; please send your questions to

In the meantime, please know that we are thinking of you and your families, praying for your health, and remaining grateful for all you do for our students and for our university.

Eric F. Spina, Paul Benson, and Andy Horner