UT System institutions will reopen in the fall; however, it’s still unsure how that will look, UT System Chancellor James Milliken said Thursday.
Milliken spoke in a live The Texas Tribune broadcast with reporter Alana Rocha about how the UT System would respond to COVID-19 over the coming months.
“The question isn’t whether or not we’ll open in the fall, it’s how we’ll open in the fall,” Milliken said. “We’ll do it in a way that is safe and healthy for our students, our faculty, our staff and visitors to the campus.”
During Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, administrator-in-charge Teik Lim said UTA doesn’t know when it will reopen campus, but when it does, it will happen in phases.
The UT System is working closely with Gov. Greg Abbott regarding the plan to reopen the institutions and will follow his leadership, Milliken said.
The System received over $170 million in federal aid, Milliken said. Of this, about half will go to emergency grants for students. The rest will be used to recuperate financial loss.
Despite the aid, the UT System institutions are still falling short of their anticipated budget, Milliken said.
The System lost between $10 million and $15 million a day in revenue under Abbott’s executive order to limit surgeries, he said. Additionally, Milliken said its Permanent University Fund will lose an estimated $500 million because of COVID-19 and the global drop in oil prices.
The Permanent University Fund is generated from 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas that the Texas Constitution sets aside to support the UT System and Texas A&M System. According to the UT System website, the fund grows from oil and gas production and investment income.