Fordham Announces Budget for Fiscal Year 2022

With the future still unknown, the budget committee uses the past year to guide its plans



Fordham’s projection for 2021 operating revenue was an under-estimation by about $4 million.


After a year of financial troubles due to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to salary freezes and suspension of retirement fund contributions, Fordham announced its budget plans for the 2022 fiscal year. In a Zoom meeting on May 7, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Martha Hirst gave a detailed overview of the plans.

The presentation began by emphasizing the university’s loss of funding over the past year. The suspension of in-person activities in spring 2020 and partial reimbursement of room and board fees to students cost Fordham an estimated $25 million, according to Hirst. 

“I think it’s important to understand how we got here to know where we are going,” Hirst said.

As the university began looking forward, administrators were unaware of what the subsequent fall and spring semesters would look like. Due to this, a multitude of scenarios was created in order to properly budget for the fall 2020 semester. These were based on total enrollment and how many students would be on campus. The university had planned on having 50% occupancy over the course of the year. However, according to Hirst, in both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters dorms were occupied at 65%.

“We did a little better than that (50%),” Hirst said. “And that enabled us to take a look and in April, rather than in July, we resumed the retirement match for all employees of the university.”

On Oct. 28, 2020, Fordham announced that they would be suspending contributions to the retirement fund until June. Many faculty members were upset, as they had accepted a salary freeze under the terms that any further changes to their salaries or benefits would be negotiated with them. On April 9, the contributions resumed — two months ahead of schedule. 

In a normal year, the total revenue would have been projected to be $643.2 million. However, the rest of their plans had a revenue shortfall of at least $30.5 million. 

“We are an unusual institution that we were able to manage through as we did.” Martha Hirst, CFO and treasurer

The adopted budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year looks different because, according to Hirst, the university spent more on financial aid than expected, although revenue from tuition and fees increased. Additionally, Hirst explained that even though people might expect facilities to cost less due to fewer residents on campus for the 2020-21 academic year, cleaning costs increased due to COVID-19 safety measures. 

At the moment, Fordham is looking to end the 2021 year with an operating revenue of $4.5 million rather than the $500,000 originally projected. 

“We look like we are going to end the year with a bit of an operating margin which is a remarkable story,” Hirst said. “We are an unusual institution that we were able to manage through as we did.”

In looking forward to the 2022 budget, Fordham had to consider expected stimulus and relief options. One of the main relief opportunities is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II. In both 2020 and 2021, Fordham received funds from the first installment of this program, and the university is eligible to receive up to $12 million in 2022. 

The main points for the 2022 budget are an increase in salary and operating expenses and no raise in tuition for the majority of schools within the university for the 2022 year. Additionally, salaries increased by 1.5% and benefits increased by 12.8%. This increase was driven by the reinstated retirement match. 

The university predicts a return to similar levels of revenue pre-pandemic when it comes to student housing and dining expenses. In 2019, Fordham’s five-year plan had projected them to end the 2022 fiscal year with $5.8 million in operating revenue. The new adopted budget for the upcoming year will leave Fordham with an operating revenue of $0.