Sent on March 17, 2020 to Twin Cities Deans, Chancellors, Chief Financial Managers, RRC Contacts, EFS Cluster Directors, and senior leaders of the University of Minnesota: Karen Hanson, Jakub Tolar, Chris Cramer, Brian Burnett, Matt Kramer.
Office of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations
University Budget Office
Funding Guidelines - Costs Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As requirements related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response continue to evolve, questions have been raised related to handling the potential unanticipated costs of taking action. As a result, four areas of guidance have been developed for broad communication:
1. Tracking Costs Related to the COVID-19
A new ChartField 2 (CF2) code has been set up to track costs the University incurs related to responding to the impacts of COVID-19.
Costs recorded using the CF2 code 1000018130 / Description = COVID-19 should be those over and above what is budgeted and expected by the unit and should only include those related to activities specifically tied to COVID-19. The types of costs recorded in the new CF2 code will vary from unit-to-unit. Examples are anticipated to include: additional staffing or supplies, cancellation fees, student and other refunds, maintenance of labs/facilities, etc. Costs could be related to travel, attending/hosting a conference, reduced operations, evacuation, facilities management, program cancellations, etc. Existing employees’ time spent on responding to COVID-19 should not be tracked or recorded in the new CF2 code.
Units should continue to use all other Chart of Account values (Fund, DeptID, Program or Project, Account, etc.) as applicable to identify the respective chart string for the activity. Units will need to process a budget journal for the specific chart string including the CF2 code for the expenses to pass budget checking and post.
If a CF2 value is currently part of your chart strings, we are requiring the CF2 value be replaced with 1000018130 for impacted transactions. Manual processes may be necessary for unit-specific CF2 reporting purposes.
The Learning Abroad Center (LAC) and the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance has developed a matrix outlining a standard response for questions related to providing refunds to students for study abroad cancellations. The standards have been communicated to LAC’s network of employees working with study abroad programs, but all units involved in those activities should become familiar with those standards. The matrix can be viewed at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hnivVdw5uzfT7CbYEhCr4BzgWBTmPrCnMNgRWlZ--f0/edit
3. Revenue Losses
Additionally, it is likely that some units will experience revenue loss compared to budget during FY20, specifically associated with cancellation of or reductions in activities and services. All units, including auxiliaries, should use whatever methodologies are most appropriate to the situation to track and document these losses. To analyze the impact and potential support, toward the end of the fiscal year the University Budget Office will be in contact with units about how to summarize and verify these situations.
4. Sources of Funding – Increased/Unanticipated Costs and Revenue Losses
Any unit experiencing increased/unanticipated costs associated with COVID-19 should record those expenses in the appropriate chart strings (as indicated above) under item 1. The particular funding source chosen at the chart string level will vary based on the unit, the activity, and the resources available. The University will evaluate the overall impact of these expenses and any revenue losses by unit before the end of the fiscal year to determine the final resource allocation. However, it is likely that the order of application will be as follows:
Refunds/credits/recoveries/reimbursements from outside vendors or organizations as possible and appropriate – pursued at the activity level
Departmental reserves set aside for emergency purposes such as this where applicable
Departmental funds previously budgeted for travel and related expenses freed up due to cancellations
Uncommitted departmental balances (magnitude evaluated on a case by case basis)
Uncommitted central University balances
The central reserves fund designated in Board of Regents policy
Units should not make separate requests for University funding of these costs at this time. A comprehensive review of the expenses recorded under item 1 above and the revenue losses as referenced in item 3 above will be conducted before the end of the fiscal year to determine where potential financial support is needed.
This email was sent on behalf of Julie Tonneson to Twin Cities Deans, Chancellors, Chief Financial Managers, RRC Contacts, EFS Cluster Directors, and senior leaders of the University of Minnesota: Karen Hanson, Jakub Tolar, Chris Cramer, Brian Burnett, Matt Kramer.