Penn is canceling all on-campus summer courses and programs, reducing its budget for the 2021 fiscal year, and launching an emergency grant fund for employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Provost Wendell Pritchett and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli wrote in an email to the Penn community on Monday that all on-campus summer activities and courses, including Summer Session II, will be conducted remotely to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Penn has also created The Penn COVID-19 Emergency Grant Assistance Fund that will distribute grants to employees in need of financial assistance.
Measures to reduce ongoing costs include a university-wide hiring freeze on all positions except grant-funded positions approved by the “highest level of the School/center,” a limited merit increase program, restriction on overtime work, and elimination of mid-year salary adjustments.
No changes will be made to tuition, fee charges, and grading policies for credit-bearing undergraduate courses in the summer sessions, the email read. The optional pass/fail policy implemented for Spring 2020 in response to coronavirus pandemic will not be applicable for summer courses. Tuition for the 2020 summer sessions ranges from $4,566 to $7,032 per credit unit depending on which school courses are taught under.
Penn previously announced on April 1 that the 11-week Summer Session and Summer Session I, which both start on May 26, would move online but made no mention of Summer Session II, which begins on July 2 and ends Aug. 7. The 11-week session spans from May 26 to Aug. 7, and Summer Session I is from May 26 to July 1.
Summer study abroad and all other University-related travel remains canceled as originally announced on March 13, the email read.
The email also read that the University will reduce costs for fiscal year 2021 to preserve jobs and maintain salary continuity.
For employees with salaries above $70,000 which include officers, deans, and vice presidents, the email read that the limited merit increase program will prevent these employees from an annual wage or stipend increases for the 2021 fiscal year.
The Penn COVID-19 Emergency Grant Assistance Fund will allow full-time staff who earn at or below $70,000 a tax-free grant up to $1,500 and part-time staff a tax-free grant up to $750. Certain contracted employees are eligible to apply for these funds but are instructed to contact their employer on eligibility and how to apply.
Contracted employees include those employed under Allied Universal, Aramark, Barnes & Noble College Bookstore, Bon Appétit Management Company, Hilton, and Sheraton.
“The economic downturn will not affect Penn’s long-standing commitment to grant-based financial aid, sustaining need-based financial aid for undergraduate students, competitive stipends for Ph.D. students, and extensive grants and subsidy programs for graduate and professional students,” the email read.
Penn is also urging schools and centers to reduce non-essential spending that is not critical to the operation of the University, including outside services, consulting, conferences, and meetings, the email read. Capital projects deemed not “life-sustaining” have been directed to shut down but those in design or construction and with a fully defined funding plan can continue, the email read.
“While the steps we have taken are difficult and additional financial measures may need to be considered in the future, we are confident that there are better days ahead, and Penn will emerge from this crisis strong,” the email read.