ECU makes tentative financial plan to bounce back from pandemic

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU was one of several universities in the country to struggle financially as the COVID-19 pandemic kept students at home, cancelled sports seasons and resulted in budget cuts and employee furloughs.

Looking ahead, the school has plans to bounce back.

The new chancellor, Dr. Philip Rogers, said students returning to campus next month and the community supporting Purple and Gold could turn things around financially.

“We get fans in the stands at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, ticket sales to go up, we encourage everybody to get out and be a part of all those in-person experiences that help our university thrive. That’s the way we can stay ahead of financial challenges,” said Rogers.

“We had those loss[es] in got to kind of manage your way through that and cut a lot of things and cut a lot of areas which we did,” said Scott Shook, the new chair on the Board of Trustees.

“We need students back on campus. We need dorms occupied; we need dining halls full.”

That, and the $50,000 from a federal COVID stimulus bill could offset their major losses.

The chancellor said their unofficial financial plan includes investment in enrollment outreach initiatives, the Vidant-ECU integration, and student class experiences like introducing artificial intelligence technology.

WITN also asked Dr. Rogers whether he expects any more budget cuts or employee furloughs in the future.

“I’m hopeful that we’re on the downswing with those types of challenges with the pandemic,” Rogers responded.

“The key is being able to get students back to campus in the fall.”

Though leadership is hopeful things will go back to normal, ECU is still implementing measures on campus as they keep in mind rising COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant.

The school said they will enforce masks in the classroom and random COVID-19 testing among unvaccinated students and employees.

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