University of Akron and Others Look to Cut Costs

CSU VP for Business Affairs and Finance Stephanie McHenry addresses the Board of Trustees

CSU VP for Business Affairs and Finance Stephanie McHenry addresses the Board of Trustees

The University of Akron announced it's laying off 215 employees and eliminating its baseball team to fix a $60 million budget deficit.

All state schools have pressure to reduce spending.

The new state budget freezes tuition at state universities for the next two years.

And by October, Akron and other state schools must submit plans to state legislators to lower costs by 5 percent.

 

Akron officials say they’ll save $40 million from cost reductions and raise $20 million through increased undergraduate fees and graduate tuition.

"The most painful but necessary reduction is the abolishment of filled positions," president Scott Scarborough said in a statement. "We are working hard to ensure that our colleagues whose positions will be eliminated are shown the respect and courtesy they deserve. We owe them our thanks and appreciation for their years of service to the University.”

Under the state budget that was passed to weeks ago undergraduate tuition is frozen for the next two years.  Universities did get a boost in the state share of instruction or SSI dollars that follow each student.   That goes up 4 ½ percent this year and 4 percent next year.

Cleveland State just settled new labor contracts that mean an increase in costs, but Vice President for Finance Stephanie McHenry said they’ll make it work..

“We can, we will, we must.  Actually the SSI is about 30 percent of our budget, the other 70 percent I have to earn by going out and selling tuition so we’ve got our eye on both of those and we’ll certainly work to be valuable to the marketplace. “

State Senator Jim Hughes said legislators want to make school more affordable.

"What it is is looking at the cost of higher education upon students.  So what we're trying to do is make sure it's reducing it down to help, to make sure money is not a hindrance towards more students achieving their higher ed degree."

Meanwhile, both Cleveland State and Akron are reviewing the programs they offer to determine which to expand and which to eliminate.

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