As of March 30, Bowdoin has lost $6.8 million due to expenses related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the transition to remote learning, according to senior administrators.
Most of the sum—$6.2 million—comes from room and board refunds issued to students, and the remaining $600,000 of expenses came from the costs associated with conducting classes online and moving students out of campus housing.
The maximum refund for a student living in college housing and on the 19 meal-per-week plan was approximately $4,125.
In addition to the significant initial expenses, the College expects to incur further costs in the coming months.
“We will continue to see costs accumulate over the last three months of the fiscal year and expect the total to be well in excess of $8 million,” wrote Matt Orlando, senior vice president for finance and administration and College treasurer, in an email to the Orient.
The loss represents 3.9 percent of the College’s $175.8 million operating budget for fiscal year 2019-20. The current figures do not include losses to the College’s $1.74 billion endowment. According to Orlando, performance data for the endowment will not be available until August.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Colby College’s endowment had dropped from $900 million at the end of last year to $803 million, an 11 percent decrease.
A small portion of Bowdoin’s losses will be offset by the $1.12 million in federal support that the school will receive from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress in March.
Per stipulations in the law, the College must distribute at least half of the funds as emergency financial aid grants to students to defray the cost of food, housing, technology, healthcare and other necessary expenses.
The College has not yet announced how it will distribute these grants but is “working through the rules and processes that are part of the CARES relief,” wrote Whitney Soule, dean of admissions and financial aid, in an email to the Orient. Soule indicated that the College will announce plans to distribute funds in the coming weeks.
Bowdoin is awaiting final guidelines from the Department of Education before deciding how to use the remaining half of the funds, according to Orlando. A statement from Senator Susan Collins (ME) released on Monday indicated that colleges and universities can use the remaining funds to defray general costs associated with purchasing technology to expand remote learning or for additional emergency financial aid grants.