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Boise State to expect economic loss due to coronavirus challenges

Photo by Drew Marshall

Due to the coronavirus, Boise State is expected to experience an economic loss during the academic school year of 2020-2021. 

Transit and Enforcement Operations Manager Mishka Chorny says there is a possible economic decline with parking and transportation as a result of the coronavirus. 

According to Chorny, there was a significant drop in parking passes purchased this year. However, there have been more refunds issued this fall.

Students can receive a full refund on parking passes until Sept. 7, and after that can return parking passes for a 50% refund, according to Chorny. Students can return passes at any time throughout the academic school year, but the longer students wait, the less of a refund they will receive. 

Since the beginning of the fall semester, Parking and Transportation has refunded about 20 parking passes per day. Chorny believes the influx of refunds is due to more classes being moved to online and fewer students living in on-campus housing.

“Our emphasis is not the revenue that we take in.The emphasis is to make sure that we go with the goals of the university and support students as much as possible,” Chorny said. “Our most important purpose is to support students as best we can, and if that looks like returning all the permits and having no revenue, then it is what it is.”

Mark Heil, Boise State vice president and chief financial officer, spoke about some of the attributions to an economic loss for the university. 

Football brings in a lot of revenue for the university and with fall sports being postponed, the lost revenue will greatly impact Boise State’s economy, according to Heil.

Football generates money for the university through game day sales, season tickets and royalties on concessions. According to Heil, men’s basketball also brings in money, but every other fall sport loses money. 

Without football, there is no money to fund other programs or sports. Although, Heil hopes to have a spring football season to make up for any economic loss. 

The state of Idaho has contributed to the economic loss for Boise State too. According to Heil, there has been an overall 7% budget cut from the state, costing the university nearly $8 million. 

With most classes being moved online, Boise State has had to increase costs on classroom technology, as well as cleaning supplies to ensure student and faculty safety.

Enrollment rates for this academic school year are expected to flatline, which also decreases revenue and tuition for the university. Some administrative staff members have been furloughed over the summer, due to lack of funding by the university.

Facilities such as the Morrison Center and Extra-Mile Arena are also experiencing budgetary losses due to COVID-19. Luckily, Boise State has configured these spaces into classrooms for students this fall. 

Heil emphasized that while Boise State is experiencing budget cuts, faculty and staff have been working hard over the summer to ensure the campus is safe and to maintain the quality of education. 

“Faculty and staff have been working really hard to make sure that campus is safe and people are safe, and that we maintain the quality of education. It has been hard-driven by faculty, IT folks, and campus operations folks,” Heil said. “In the provost office in academic affairs, I know they were working really hard to reconfigure classes and classrooms to make sure we have the right mixture of online and on-campus [opportunities].”

In the 2019 fiscal year, Boise State received over $42 million donations from alumni, private donors, organizations and supporters of the university, according to Matthew Ewing, vice president of University Advancement. However, Boise State will receive less money this fiscal year. 

Ewing expects anywhere from a 10% to 20% decrease in donations. According to Ewing, to receive an influx of donations, the U.S. economy needs to be stable in order to receive an influx of donations. The higher the employment rate, the more people and organizations will donate.

The university focuses on each donor and how they can encourage a lifetime engagement by aligning donors’ passions with supporting students.

Bronco Giving Day is another way in which Boise state celebrates all donations made to the university. During this time, funds are raised to commemorate Boise State programs and departments while giving thanks to all donors for their contributions and generosity. 

Overall, Ewing emphasizes the gratitude from Boise State and wants students to know they are supported by the community. 

“Thank you to our donors that make a choice to support Boise State University and support our students. I want to say thank you to our students who are navigating a really hard time right now… I want [students] to know that they have a support network around them,” Ewing said. “When a donor chooses to contribute to Boise State, they do it because they want that student to have a better experience.”

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