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IPFW to cut jobs, up tuition

40 positions affected in move to counteract shortfall

– IPFW officials believe that with this week’s round of layoffs, a modest tuition increase and other cuts to operations, the university’s financial picture will improve.

Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs Walt Branson said the layoff notices will begin this week and likely continue into next week.

As part of a budget reduction plan, individuals in 15.5 positions will be laid off and 24.5 unfilled positions will be eliminated. Branson said the action will result in $2.2 million worth of savings.

Chancellor Vicky Carwein wrote in an email to faculty and staff Monday that the plan calls for “reductions in service, elimination of unfilled positions and layoffs. It also includes an assumption of a very modest increase in tuition and no annual salary increases for the coming year.”

Branson said as far as he could recall, the reductions are the largest in the university’s history, but that they’re overall a small percentage of the 1,100 to 1,200 people employed by the university.

“We’ve really worked hard to keep impact on individuals to a minimum,” he said.

Carwein wrote in the email that in the event additional funds become available, restoring faculty positions will be a priority.

The reductions are “across the board,” Branson said, but none are teaching positions. Examples of areas included in layoffs are physical plant operations, administration and secretaries while eliminated positions are from special events, student affairs and non-teaching academic affairs positions, Branson said.

The university is facing a shortfall of at least $4.2 million, a number that could rise depending on variables like state funding and enrollment numbers in the fall. In her email, Carwein said the plan is targeting a shortfall of about $8.4 million. The deficit is due to declining enrollment, increasing expenses and uncertainty of state funding levels.

IPFW is creating a budget based on this school year’s enrollment numbers, Branson said. Carwein said in her email that additional revisions to the plan may become necessary when these numbers are more concrete.

IPFW is looking to raise tuition for next school year, a move that requires a public hearing and approval from the Purdue University board of trustees. Branson said the increase will be less than in recent years. A 2.5 percent tuition increase last school year raised what students pay to about $250 per credit hour. He said the university will look for the increase to generate about $1.5 million.

Branson said the administration has also cut about $3 million, mostly from fringe benefits and utility costs.

Earlier this year, IPFW made some changes in its physical plant operations in light of its budget woes. Third-shift cleaning crews were moved to second shift, so mechanical systems can be shut off when buildings are not in use. Trash pickup and mail delivery has also become less frequent on campus.