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Unrestricted Expense Management Plan for FY'21

June 5, 2020

This announcement was updated on June 25, 2020

As we plan our way forward, we must also recognize the extraordinary financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on higher education as well as our global economy. With significantly disrupted supply chains and lost revenue streams, it is more critical than ever that we manage our expenses carefully. Your cooperation with the guidance outlined in this email is vital to our ability to adapt to the current economic reality. Drexel has set a goal to reduce its unrestricted non-compensation expense budget by approximately $30 million for Fiscal Year 2021.

Procurement Services, the Office of Budget and Financial Planning, and the Office of the Provost are working together on a strategy to assist individual departments and schools in their FY21 goods and services expense planning. We will provide you with the tools and support necessary to realize our financial goals in order to meet the COVID-19 challenge. We will be reaching out shortly with more information and to schedule meetings to provide you with the required assistance.

Procurement Services has stayed in close consultation with our Drexel colleagues, as well as our peers in both the higher education and procurement industries, to craft an expense management plan for unrestricted funds for FY21. Please note the following purchasing, travel and event guidance:

  • Nonessential spend remains prohibited. Essential purchases are those that are critical to and necessary for the core educational and business functions of the University now or the continuation of those core functions in the future. Such purchases include goods and services that directly support instruction, research and critical University infrastructure. Business cases demonstrating the rationale for requested purchases may be required prior to requisition processing.
  • Continue to track any COVID-related expenses.
    Drexel University — Chart D 110001-5999
    Academy of Natural Sciences — Chart S 111001-5999
    Drexel University Online — Chart O 112001-5999
  • Smart Source workflows in place to review all orders over $100 will continue, both to ensure compliance with the restrictions on nonessential spend, and also to allow Procurement the opportunity to consolidate spend or negotiate discount pricing where appropriate. [UPDATE 6.25.2020: The COVID-19 workflow has been updated to include all orders over $500]
  • The P-Card program is being assessed for each department/school to drastically reduce the number of cards in circulation by consolidating to department cards, shifting spend to our Smart Source system, and/or transitioning P-Cards to travel cards. Procurement will also be lowering individual card limits based on historic spend for those cards that remain active.
  • Procurement will implement catalog restrictions within Office Depot and Amazon to help give further guidance on items deemed nonessential for this year. If a restricted item is needed, Procurement will review and make a determination based on the business reason. For example, many breakroom supplies will be categorized as nonessential.
  • Procurement will be implementing a Print Policy, which will give guidance on best practices for printing and mailing as well as detail a phased implementation of a managed print program across the University. The intent of this policy will be to reduce expenses associated with printing and to support sustainability initiatives.
  • The University is reviewing its cell phone stipend program, as well as the University-owned phone plans. Determinations and guidance are forthcoming.
  • Travel remains prohibited for faculty and professional staff for the remainder of the summer, and strict nonessential travel restrictions will be in place for FY21. A preapproval form will be implemented effective July 1, 2020, and it will need to be completed prior to travel. This form with instructions, which will provide the opportunity to identify the travel as grant funded and essential, will be made available on the Procurement Services website soon.
  • Only those events deemed essential to the University's core business will be considered for approval once permitted by state and local officials, and provided physical distancing requirements are followed.
  • Unauthorized confirming orders are prohibited and will be more closely monitored. Frequent or high-dollar confirming orders that circumvent the Purchasing Policy will be referred to the college, department or unit for further review.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we navigate this challenging situation together. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Procurement Services or the Office of Budget and Financial Planning.