This morning, President Beilock put out a statement saying that summer programs such as the Summer Research Institute (SRI) and all faculty-led off-campus programs have been canceled and Summer Opportunity Programs have been moved online. There will also be a Work Exemption Grant for students who rely on summer income but are unable to work due to COVID-19.

In the wake of the pandemic, Barnard has decided to keep students off-campus for the summer, canceling the Summer Research Institute (SRI) alongside any faculty-led programs on or off-campus. Programs such as the Opportunity Programs as well as any Pre-College summer programs will be held online in an attempt to prevent spread of the disease.

In a statement sent to students this morning, President Beilock acknowledged the difficulty many students will face finding work over the summer due to the outbreak. As a result, Barnard will be providing a one time summer work exemption grant for those students who need the funding. This grant will reportedly cost the college approximately three million dollars, some of which will hopefully be able to be taken from the CARES Act. This grant will be automatically available for students who are eligible for the Barnard Grant and the amount will depend on the year according to a chart found on the FAQ page linked by President Beilock. This grant also is apparently unrelated to any work-study opportunities in the fall and will not affect one’s chances of getting a job next semester.

The pandemic has a tremendous financial strain on the College at large. As such, Barnard has decided to freeze hiring except in critical areas, reduce spending in key areas of operation, and implement a 0% merit pool for all administrators, faculty, and staff for the 2020-2021 school year (except where contractually required) to help keep the college operating as close to normal as possible.

The full text of the email can be found below:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community, 

It’s been just over a month since we made the transition to remote learning and I have been impressed — but in no way surprised — by the way the Barnard community has come together to ensure that our educational mission continues. Our students, faculty and staff have taken on this rapidly changing situation with a sense of grace and support for each other, understanding that we are all doing the best we can in these unimaginable circumstances. 

The resilience, adaptability, and innovation the community has shown as we rise to meet these new challenges is deeply inspiring. Although we are physically apart, the Barnard community is stronger than ever. 

It is in this spirit that I write to share my thinking and to highlight some of the challenges that lie ahead. As we look forward to the next weeks and months, every choice my leadership team and I make is being guided by three fundamental principles:

  • Maintaining Barnard’s steadfast commitment to academic excellence; 

  • Assuring that Barnard will continue its unique, critical academic mission for the long term; and

  • Supporting the physical and mental health as well as the financial well-being of our students, faculty and staff, especially those who are the most vulnerable. 

With these principles in mind, and after careful consideration, we have decided not to hold formal residential or classroom programs on campus this summer. This includes our groundbreaking Summer Research Institute (SRI) and off-campus, faculty-led summer courses. In addition, the Opportunity Programs summer session will be held virtually and all of Barnard’s Pre-College Summer Programs will move entirely online for Summer 2020. 

I recognize that these programs not only serve as important learning opportunities for Barnard students, but also that their associated stipends are used by students on financial aid to fulfill their expected student contribution toward the cost of attending the College. 

As a result, for the 2020-21 academic year, Barnard will replace the expected summer earnings student contribution for all incoming and continuing students who receive need-based Barnard Grant Aid with a one-time Summer Work Exemption Grant. This grant recognizes that many students may not be able to work over the summer to earn funds to contribute to their cost of attendance. This is close to a $3,000,000 new expense for the College and our hope is to be able to utilize some funds from the CARES Act to contribute to these extraordinary grants.

In these uncertain and difficult times, Barnard must also responsibly confront its own serious financial challenges. These stem from a significant drop in our endowment given current financial markets; the unexpected refunding of prorated room and board for the 2020 spring semester; a loss of summer revenue; additional costs associated with supporting students on financial aid with travel, moving and emergency expenses; and many other increased expenses related to COVID-19. 

We are taking action to ensure our long-term financial health as we uphold our unwavering commitment to need-blind admissions and meeting our students’ full demonstrated financial need. As initial steps, Barnard is implementing the following policies: 

  • A hiring freeze across the College (with exceptions possible for the most critical mission-focused appointments); 

  • Reduced operating spending in key administrative areas; and

  • A 0% merit pool for all administrators, faculty and staff in the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, except where contractually required (e.g., union contracts).

Please remember that despite these challenging times, Barnard is strong. As one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the world, Barnard has never attracted a more impressive applicant pool. And we are grateful to our alumnae, parents, trustees and friends of the College, who continue to support us at an unprecedented rate. While there is no playbook for where we are at this moment in time, I could not have a better leadership team with whom to navigate these challenges. 

We will continue to keep Barnard’s fundamental principles at the forefront of strategic decision-making as we look toward the Fall semester. Our goal is to be back on campus in September. However, we are also preparing several other scenarios that would serve the dual goal of upholding Barnard’s academic excellence while ensuring the health and safety of our community. I will update you as we move forward. 

I am grateful that I can count on every member of our extraordinary community to be a partner in these efforts. I have never been more proud to be President of Barnard.

Most sincerely,

Sian Leah Beilock, President


Barnard Gates via Bwog Archives