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UC Berkeley Suffers Unprecedented Deficit Due to Pandemic

The Bay Area’s flagship public university, UC Berkeley, is trying to work its way out of an unprecedented $340 million deficit due to the pandemic. And that means some of the hardest-hit departments and individuals on campus are having to fend for themselves.

The campus has seen plunging revenue on several fronts, including $35 million in tuition fees.

“We had about 800 students that decided not to come back to the fall,” said Rosemarie Rae, Berkeley’s vice chancellor of finance and chief financial officer.

Then there’s the $100-$140 million anticipated loss in housing and dining income. Plus $33 million in revenue from sports events.

On top of all of the losses, Rae pointed to tens of millions of dollars in additional pandemic-related expenses — from COVID-19 testing and sanitization, to upgrading systems to accommodate remote learning and meetings.

Rae came in seven years ago to oversee the university’s complex $3 billion budget. She spent those years getting the campus out of a $150 million shortfall caused by declining state support, years of frozen tuition and substantial long-term debt.

“We were already running skinny as we came into COVID-19,” Rae said. “We’re fragile.”

Read the full story here.

—Chloe Veltman (@chloeveltman)

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