Enrollment at the University of Missouri Columbia is expected to decline more than 7 percent in the fall, and budget cuts will require the elimination of up to 400 jobs, interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes says.
The Columbia Tribune reports that MU will cut jobs by eliminating vacant positions from the budget, which will be about half the total. The other half will be from retirements, not renewing annual contracts and formal layoffs. The total number of layoffs will be 100 or fewer, Stokes says.
The enrollment decline estimate is the first provided by university officials for overall fall numbers. The university has already said it expects first-time freshman enrollment to decline by almost 18 percent.
Overall, the university is planning to cut 12 percent from the academic and administrative operations budget, or about $55 million. About $24 million is to cover a funding shortfall because of lower tuition revenue and cuts in state support.
The university is having difficulty with graduate as well as undergraduate enrollment. Applications for graduate school are down almost 11 percent, says Jeni Hart, assistant vice provost for doctoral and graduate studies.
Declines in undergraduate enrollment have been attributed to the negative publicity and protests connected to the November 2015 resignations of system President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
"It is clear from what we learned thus far that the vast majority of our undergraduate enrollment concerns are closely tied to our public perception issues throughout the state and throughout the country,” says Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment.
University operations that are not funded from tuition or state tax funds, such as Intercollegiate Athletics and MU Health Care, are not subject to the 12 percent cut, Stokes says.