Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Subject: Financial considerations
Dear faculty and staff,
Inspired by selfless acts of many amongst us, LUMS has recently launched its own https://lums.edu.pk/lums-covid-19-campaign to raise Rs. 50 million. This campaign aims to support many amongst us who are experiencing sudden and severe financial distress. The campaign encourages you to give generously to students in need, staff facing medical emergencies and financial hardships, and the broader community from low-income households struggling to make ends meet. A disbursements committee has been formed to consider efficient ways to begin the distribution of over Rs. 3m that has been raised to date.
As we cope with the the pandemic’s financial burden on students, faculty, staff and the University itself, this note summarizes various aspects of the financial picture.
The Finance Committee continues to work with the CFO, Deans, Provost and the Vice Chancellor’s Offices to consider various scenarios in the budgeting process with the goal of conserving resources and support existing employees. It is too early to make any across the board decisions but we can expect difficult choices ahead should the lockdown continue into the fall and spring.
LUMS has committed to provide free of charge internet access to all students fully dependant on financial aid. The health and safety of our students during this crisis is our foremost responsibility. Moving students off campus for public safety reasons has caused significant disruptions in people’s lives. Some are depending on LUMS for connectivity to complete LUMS courses while others face unanticipated financial burdens at home due to loss of wages and employment in the family.
Students who have been living in the LUMS hostels will be reimbursed for six weeks of housing costs pro-rated in accordance with expenses associated with residential facilities, staffing and maintenance. In the coming weeks, students will receive a voucher indicating the following options: (1) Maintain the hostel refund on their accounts to offset next year’s charges; (2) Request refund payment; (3) Allocate the refund to reduce student loans or (4) Donate your refund to the COVID-19 LUMS campaign.
The Spring semester has resumed and our mission reaffirms our commitment to world class, student-centered education. LUMS is a not-for-profit university that relies on tuition and also offers financial assistance to one out of three students. We are providing individualized support within our resources to alleviate financial hardship on a case-by-case basis. However, we will continue to need resources to complete our promised mission. Our tuition fees for the coming year will reflect the University’s costs. The University will monitor the situation this summer and communicate any fee-related information.
Faculty members are investing a lot of effort in the transition to online learning, assessment and teaching. Generally, after one week, students are getting accustomed to the variety of tools that are being used. These include Sakai, Moodle, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Videos, Tablets and Digital Boards. The list is long as it is impressive. During the University Council meeting last Friday, preliminary data suggests an increase in attendance and participation. By April 24th, the Ped-Tech team, The Learning Institute and Office of Program Enhancement will have collected a lot of rich data on these efforts. This type of feedback will be shared for continuous improvement.
The Provost Office has formed a committee to oversee the design, production and delivery of a dozen exemplary, world-class online courses and will be announcing a call for applications to faculty. These efforts and the ones mentioned earlier are not only compliant with HEC requirements to be “online ready” but aim to set new standards for universities across Pakistan.
We want to thank and acknowledge our faculty and staff who are accommodating students and others in need during these stressful times. Our students and staff deserve all the caring and compassion, as all of us do. We can continue to be proud of the way our university has come together, made major adjustments to the ways we do our work, and remained committed to our learning and teaching mission.
Arshad Ahmad, VC
Kamran Asdar Ali, Provost,
Sabieh Anwar, Dean
Adnan Khan, Dean
Tahir Andrabi, Dean
Alnoor Bhimani, Dean