Financial Implications + Planning

Update on university financial situation

February 5, 2021

Dear Johns Hopkins Community,

We write to update you on some positive developments regarding Johns Hopkins’ financial situation and the relaxation of our mitigation efforts, including a plan for restoration of employer retirement contributions for the second half of the current fiscal year.

Thanks to the remarkable resourcefulness and ingenuity of so many, and the good fortune of some one-time occurrences, including tremendous philanthropic support, we are in a much stronger position at midyear than we had expected. More details on the university’s financial performance in the first half of this fiscal year (July through December 2020) are available here, but suffice it to say that we are now able to begin relaxing our austerity measures and to restore six months of our retirement contributions. 

Today, we are taking the following three steps:  

  • Restoration of retirement contributions as of January 1, 2021—Rather than waiting until July 1 (as previously planned), we are moving now to restart employer retirement contributions to Johns Hopkins faculty and staff, effective retroactively to January 1, 2021. You can expect to see these regular employer contributions restart in March, and you will receive more information in February about our plans for restoring benefits retroactive to January 1, 2021.
  • Resumption of hiring starting July 1—Searches can begin now for faculty and staff positions with a start date after the beginning of the next fiscal year (July 1, 2021). As has been the case for the last eight months, we also will continue to support a process for earlier exemptions from the hiring freeze for mission critical or strategically important hiring that is required before the end of the current fiscal year. 
  • Resumption of merit pay increases on July 1—We plan to continue our freeze on employee salaries through the end of the fiscal year, but we will resume merit pay increases on July 1, 2021.  

We are, of course, far from back to normal. Although we do not yet have updated projections for the full fiscal year (through June 30), we know that overall revenues have been negatively affected by COVID-19 and are lower than they were at this same point last year. But we know, too, that the steps taken across the university to mitigate this financial downside have been quite successful.

We are also mindful of the continued uncertainty of the pandemic, particularly with respect to the emergence of new variants of the virus. For that reason we are preserving a portion of our current positive balance to be able to weather the months ahead. We are committed to re-assessing as the year progresses, and, as promised last spring when we began this difficult journey together, if we can prudently do more to reverse our austerity measures, we will do so.

Johns Hopkins Health System is taking similar positive steps, focusing first on reinstating merit pay for its employees. The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faculty and staff are part of the Johns Hopkins University and thus will have their employer retirement contributions reinstated under the university’s plan.

Updated financial FAQ are posted at with more details and information on these plans, along with our past and current COVID financial reporting. The university’s financial team will hold a town hall meeting this spring, once we have in hand updated year-end projections, so that we can review this information with you and answer any questions. 

Let us conclude with an earnest expression of gratitude to all members of our community and, in particular, our deans, departmental chairs and directors, and financial team, for your herculean efforts through a very challenging time as we have maintained our research, educational, and clinical missions.


Ronald J. Daniels

Mary Miller
Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

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