From California to Maine and Florida, colleges and universities continue to feel the pinch from shrinking endowments and state budget cuts. Recently, Arizona’s public universities have proposed to collectively cut $100 million from their budgets by July to appease state lawmakers. Other colleges are cutting their costs in anticipation of budget shortfalls in 2010. For instance, the University of California at Berkeley anticipates a $60-70 million budget gap next year. Although other universities are not facing as large of a deficit, they may still need to find millions of dollars in expenses to cut.
Layoffs have already occurred on campuses across the nation. Utah State University fired 20 employees in the last six months, the University of Maine plans to layoff 44 people as part of a plan to close campus child-care and fitness centers, and Tufts University anticipates firing more than a dozen people in response to the 30 percent decline in the value of the institution’s endowment.
As an alternative to layoffs, some universities are considering mandatory unpaid time off for employees. The potential savings are high. By furloughing all 12,000 of its employees for a period ranging from ten days to three weeks, Arizona State University will save $24 million. Utah State University will furlough all university employees for five days to offset a $5.65 million budget cut. Furloughs may be on the horizon for next year at some universities. The University of Georgia is considering a clause in faculty contracts for 2009-2010 that would require professors to take furloughs.
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