Changes to university spending restraints and budget update

Dear Colleagues:

The University of Michigan Board of Regents passed a budget yesterday that increases the minimum wage of permanent employees to $15 per hour, includes contractual increases for bargained-for employees, provides modest salary programs for faculty and staff, and allows us to responsibly lift the campuswide spending constraints we implemented in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those spending restraints included a hiring freeze for noncritical positions and the elimination of non-essential travel, purchases, use of consultants, and advertising.

Beginning July 1, unit leaders may determine if and when to continue with spending restrictions based on their priorities and budget situation, while keeping in mind that university resources remain limited. Uncertainties around state funding, the duration of the pandemic, and our full utilization of federal emergency relief funds mean that we must remain judicious.

In essence, we are returning decision-making to the unit level, while also urging continued thought and discussion around ways to realize savings and efficiently deliver on our mission and values. We’re encouraging all employees to consider lessons learned during the period of constrained spending. We’ve been challenged to work in new and different ways, and our experiences this past year can help us continue to implement creative and innovative solutions that best deploy our resources.

More information is available in the University Record. Our Office of Budget and Planning will include additional details next week in the annual General Fund budget letters it sends to units, and unit leaders (such as deans, directors and executive officers) will also be providing guidance for their respective organizations.

All of you deserve enormous credit for helping us achieve a balanced university budget that advances excellence in all we do amid a global pandemic.

Thank you for your efforts and commitment to our university.


Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D