(THE PICKET)—Shepherd University officials have vowed not to raise tuition for spring 2016 and to avoid layoffs in the face of a 4-percent West Virginia budget cut this year, according to an email sent to faculty and staff Thursday, Oct. 29, by interim president Sylvia Manning.
“Our challenge from the cut in State appropriation is compounded by the shortfall in enrollment this year. Retaining fewer students than we had projected means not only less revenue from tuition and fees, but also less from residence halls, dining and the bookstore,” Manning wrote. “These revenue losses taken together will result in a significantly revised budget for the current year, which we will review with the Board of Governors in early December.”
This year’s 4-percent cut in state funding, about $400,000, means that Shepherd has seen its funding cut by some 16 percent, on $1.8 million, since fiscal 2013.
The school’s first budgetary measure was the cancellation of the appointment of an interim Vice President for Enrollment Management. Dr. Tom Segar is now acting in the position, and Holly Frye has been made the acting Vice President for Student Affairs.
All administrative travel has been cancelled, to the tune of $60,000 in savings, Manning wrote. Travel for student recruitment, student travel such as field trips and athletic trips, travel supported by grant funds, faculty travel for conferences, mandatory training, and legally required travel for government purposes will continue. Some $37,000 will be saved through cutbacks on contractual and consulting services, training and development, and professional services, as well as $30,000 through reductions in student affairs expenses.
The University is also cutting back on providing cell phones to employees, and most employees who have a university-provided cell phone will be receiving a stipend for use of their personal cell phones in a measure intended to save $9,000. The school is also cutting back in vehicle rental in a move calculated to save $6,000.
Finally, the administration has announced a plan to leave administrative positions unfilled for 180 days when they become open, a move suggested to save $750,000.
“Shepherd has the capacity to work its way out of the strained circumstances we endure now,” Manning wrote. “Our longer-term solution is not to reduce expenses but to increase revenues. We can do that because we have a strong potential for significantly increased enrollment, plus a growing ability to secure private support through gifts and grants.”