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University of Akron cuts budget, raises tuition
One hundred positions eliminated and main campus tuition to go up 2 percent

Mark Urycki
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The University of Akron trustees have approved a budget for the coming year that calls for a 2 percent increase in tuition for most students. It also calls for some layoffs to eliminate a nearly $30 million budget deficit.

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University revenues depend on enrollment, and that was down this past year and flat the year before. To make up for a shortfall, some 100 positions will be eliminated. That means a cut to the academic side of 6 percent and a cut to all other administrative units of 8 percent.Chief Financial Officer David Cummins says half the jobs are already vacant.

“Between the colleges and the support units, we are essentially reducing their budgets $14 million. And a huge part of that is not filling positions that we already know are vacant. ... With the changes in the retirement systems, we had a larger than normal number of retirements this year, so that’s playing into it.”

An average of 24 full-time faculty members retire each year, but that’s almost doubled to 45.

Salaries for remaining workers will be frozen. Cummins notes that state funding per pupil has been dropping since 2002 and now Ohio’s support for higher education is ranked 46th out of the 50 states.  But President Luis Proenza, who recently met with Gov. Kasich, isn’t complaining. 

"There are four other states that aren't doing as well as Ohio is. ... Given some of the recent changes in Nevada and California, we're very thankful to be in Ohio with a governor who considers its important and is finding other ways to help us."

Part of Akron’s deficit stems from an unexpected drop in enrollment this year. Tuition and fees will rise 2 percent but tuition for Akron’s community colleges, Wayne and Summit, will not change.The school will also save $1.6 million by taking two residence halls offline.

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Posted by: Jeff Jeffery (Akron) on August 21, 2013 12:08PM
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