Inside INdiana Business

PNW to cut $2.7M as enrollment declines

(photo courtesy of Purdue University Northwest)

HAMMOND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Purdue University Northwest is planning to cut more than $2.7 million to sustain anticipated enrollment losses. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report cuts will include reductions of supplies and equipment, elimination of vacant positions and reductions in force by July 1.

The university says additional cuts may come in the fall in anticipation of coronavirus pandemic-related losses.

In an April 29 letter addressed to Purdue Northwest faculty and staff, PNW Chancellor Thomas Keon outlined a plan to reduce spending across departments ahead of 2021. According to the university, departments are being asked to make cuts proportional to the percentage of funding each receives from the university’s general fund budget.

“We continue to respond strategically to the changing landscape in higher education and in our greater communities in order to sustain the quality education our students expect and deserve,” Keon said. “To that end, we are taking some immediate actions and are also planning for next year to ensure our financial stability.”

The university recorded a 4.5% decrease in total student enrollment and expects the decline to continue. PNW says its Office of Institutional Research predicted a decrease in fall 2020 enrollment even before the coronavirus pandemic.

The publication reports tuition and fees drive 46% of revenue for the university.

PNW says it now projects a general fund shortfall of $2.8 million for the 2021 fiscal year. The largest cuts will come from PNW’s academic affairs division which makes up 56% of the university’s general fund spending.

According to The Times, other large reductions will come to the university’s finance and administration, enrollment management and student affairs and information services departments. The chancellor’s division, intercollegiate athletics and institutional advancement will also each see cuts.

“Any reductions in force will be limited,” said Kris Falzone, a spokeswoman for the university. “The leaders of each division are responsible for determining how to achieve the preemptive expense adjustments needed in response to enrollment and financial challenges.”

PNW says it may make additional cuts of up to $16 million in advance of coronavirus-driven impact expected this fall.

The university says it will continue its spring online learning model through the summer.

PNW says it hopes in-person instruction can resume this fall. However, the university expects the pandemic will “affect the ability of our students to join us for the first time or to return to Purdue Northwest this fall.”

The scope of fall reductions likely will not be known until after the university receives its final enrollment figures in September. The university says it plans to give notice of coming contract suspensions in the near future.

More information can be found by clicking here.