Villanova University retaining all staff through COVID-19 pandemic

VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- There is a crisis on college campuses in the age of the coronavirus. Nobody is questioning the survivability of a place like Villanova University, but like every other institution of higher learning, it is suffering, as are its students.

Right now the campus is in peak physical shape, but because of the virus, the financial health of Villanova is uncertain like so much of our lives now.

The administration has already refunded $16 million in room and board, all spring and summer events have been canceled and the administration speculates a possible 10 to 20% drop in enrollment.

But in a message from President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, he vowed, at least right now, no one is losing their jobs.

Graduating seniors Anya Gaertner and Nora Powers expected nothing less.

"It stands with our Augustinian values," Powers said.

But it doesn't come without sacrifice.

To keep financially stable, University leadership is taking a 10% pay cut for months of June and July.

Employees will see a temporary reduction in university retirement contributions.

They've put on a hiring freeze and all campus construction has also been suspended.

It has been tough for the two seniors to see their college careers end like this.

"It's more bitter than sweet haha but it's a bummer. Everyone is going through the same thing," Power said.

But again they take pride in the University's community first strategy.

"It's really cool to see the steps that have been taken. As an alumni, as weird as that is now to say, it makes you proud," said Gaertner.

We also spoke with alum Al Kellenbenz.

His son was with him on campus Thursday in his own cap and gown.

Though they won't get to see him walk at graduation, they both said they knew they were leaving their school in good hands.

"They're trying to do right by their employees and by everyone and that's exactly what I would expect from Villanova University," said Kellenbenz.

Now there are 23 Augustinian friars working on campus as well. They will see a 10% reduction in their stipends.

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