Despite challenges, IU reports closing fiscal year 2020 with strong results

Vice President and CFO John Sejdinaj and University Controller Anna Jensen deliver financial report to trustees

The fiscal year 2020 for Indiana University was fraught with challenges given the global COVID-19 pandemic, but IU's actual audited financial activity resulted in a positive change in net position and a strengthening of the balance sheet.

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IU Vice President and CFO John Sejdinaj and University Controller Anna Jensen delivered a financial report to the IU Board of Trustees at the board's Dec. 4 virtual meeting. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

IU Vice President and CFO John Sejdinaj and University Controller Anna Jensen delivered the financial report to the IU Board of Trustees at the board's Dec. 4 virtual meeting.

Jensen reported that the university's bottom line for the fiscal year ending in June increased $193 million, resulting in a total net position in excess of $4 billion for the first time in IU's history. Jensen informed the trustees that actual operating expenses in the 2020 fiscal year outpaced operating revenue growth, but non-operating revenues -- including gifts and investment income -- made up for the shortfall.

Sejdinaj noted that IU and all higher education institutions will face a tougher operating environment in the wake of COVID-19, which has placed pressure on enrollment and revenue streams. "In the coming months, the university will be updating its five-year financial-planning model to adjust for COVID-19 and the impact it will have on university operations," he said. "All of our campuses will continue to operate in fiscally sound ways to find operating efficiencies and opportunities to reallocate resources."

As a part of IU's response to the ongoing pandemic, President Michael McRobbie asked campus leaders to cut budgets by 5 percent, with campuses ultimately exceeding the goal and achieving reductions of 6 percent. A hiring and salary freeze is in place to allow reallocating money to priorities in teaching and research.

Even through the pandemic, student financial aid is growing. To particularly address the needs of students at this time, each campus has a student emergency fund, and the Pandemic Health Disparities Fund is a broadening of that support.