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February 20, 2009


To University of Miami Students:

As you undoubtedly know, the impact of the current economic crisis has been extensive and has serious implications for your families, for all of us in this community, and for our nation and the world. The University of Miami is taking several important steps that will help minimize the negative impact of the crisis. These steps include:

  • reducing spending, including slowing down new hires
  • freezing current employee salaries
  • delaying almost all construction projects except for those that were well under way before the crisis hit.

Even as we restructure in an effort to become more efficient and responsive to the rapidly changing economic climate, we are doing all we can to limit job cuts to the greatest extent possible, to increase revenues where possible, and to preserve the programs and people that have been giving increasing value to your UM degree.

Our top priority remains to make sure all students succeed academically at the University of Miami. Due to the difficulties in the financial and credit markets, some students and their families may experience unanticipated economic hardship. We have been working with students and their families so they can stay and graduate from the University on time, and will continue to do so. Any students with concerns should contact the Office of Financial Assistance as soon as possible. The resources of our counseling center staff and University Ombudspersons are also available for you. This is also a good time to learn about the career counseling services available to students and alumni at the Toppel Career Center and other college- and school-based resources. Speak with your advisers, your faculty, your deans, the Graduate School, and anyone else on campus you feel comfortable with to figure out how to think most strategically about your time here and your future.

As you all know, I’m sure, the University of Miami is not alone. 

All colleges and universities across the country are facing significant downsizing of their endowments and gifts, as well as cuts and losses in revenue from state and federal governments. Many are raising their tuition — in some cases as high as 15 percent — in order to make up any budget shortfalls.

We reviewed all the University’s options carefully and, in light of the impact we know the current economic condition is having on our students and their families, are limiting the undergraduate tuition increase for the academic year 2009-2010 to 3.9 percent, the smallest increase in 15 years, and fees to 3 percent. Additionally, there will be no reduction to — and we might even receive additional funds from the federal economic stimulus package for — the College Work Study program.  

By taking these steps, we strengthen our commitment to you and to our educational, research, and clinical missions. Over the last 83 years, the University has made great strides in becoming a world-class teaching and research institution. And in the past seven years we have risen dramatically in the national rankings. We cannot lose the momentum we have built or step back from the significant gains we have made, but we must use all our creativity and discipline to figure out ways to do more even though we have less.  

The challenges we face require creativity, boldness, and out-of-the-box thinking. Our Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and staff are hard at work to ensure we continue to provide the services that have made the University of Miami the right choice for you.

I want you to remember that this is your university, and as students you play an important role in our overall success. You know this university, and you have great ideas about lots of things. Think hard about what we might do to tighten our belts without changing the fundamental excitement of the “U.”  Let me hear your ideas, suggestions, concerns, and thoughts about all of this. Have a great spring! You can send me an e-mail at dshalala@miami.edu.

Office of the President
P.O. Box 248006 Coral Gables, Florida 33124-4600
305-284-5155 Fax 305-284-3768