UVM Administrators Say Layoffs Are Possible

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(Host) The University of Vermont is working to close a five-million-dollar shortfall in next year’s budget.

As VPR’s Patti Daniels reports, the administration is using on a combination of revenue increases and budget cuts to close the gap.

(Daniels) The shortfall represents a tiny fraction of UVM’s $290 million budget. And compared to the $15 million budget gap two years ago, it may not seem like much.

But after three consecutive years of budget shortfalls, university Provost Jane Knodell says the easy cuts have already been made:

(Knodell) "The deans and vice presidents were asked to identify $6 million and also $3 million levels of cuts in their budgets, and also revenue generation ideas. We have reached the $3 million level without doing damage to our core academic mission and the services to our students."

(Daniels) Speaking Wednesday on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Knodell said the only place left to cut is foregoing non-union pay raises.  And Knodell says, cutting positions is a possibility:

(Knodell) "There may be layoffs, the budget is still somewhat fluid with some moving parts. So we won’t really know till we’re further into the process. But it is a possibility. We don’t expect larges numbers of layoffs, but there could be layoffs, yes."

(Daniels) The administration has also asked for a 5.8 percent increase in tuition. In-state students would pay just under $13,000. UVM estimates the total cost for a Vermont student – including room and board and incidentals – will be about $27,500 for next year.

Knodell adds that 80 percent of Vermont students receive some sort of financial aid, and nearly a third pay don’t pay any tuition at all.

UVM’s Board of Trustees will meet a month from now to vote on the tuition increase and the entire final budget.

For VPR News, I’m Patti Daniels.

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