More than 60 jobs will likely be cut at Eastern Michigan University to deal with an unexpected deficit in this year's budget, according to a recent communication from EMU President James Smith to the campus community.
Smith said the budget shortfall is currently estimated between $4.5 and $5.5 million.
According to Smith, it's because this year the number of credit hours students have been enrolled for have been lower than projected and because EMU hasn't been able to cut non-salary expenses enough to make up for all the lost revenue. He said salaries and benefits make up 61 percent of EMU's expenses.
Smith said the total number of eliminated positions won't be known until EMU's Human Resources department completes its evaluation of of positions with the individual bargaining units that are involved.
According to Smith, some of the cuts could be positions that are currently open and unfilled, and some could be layoffs.
EMU spokesman Geoffrey Larcom said the cuts will all be staff and administrative positions -- not faculty.
"I understand that this news is distressing," Smith wrote. "It is, unfortunately, only the first of many steps that we must take in the coming months and years to address the long-term challenges facing regional public universities, particularly in Michigan. This is not an Eastern Michigan University problem -- or reflective that we've done something wrong. Several other Michigan universities also face declining credit hours and greatly reduced budgets."
Smith cited the steep decline in state appropriations for higher education.
"Eastern receives $10 million less per year from the State of Michigan than we received in 2003, even before adjusting for inflation," wrote Smith.
He wrote that declining credit hour enrollment "reflects the evolving demographics of fewer high school students, fewer community college students available for transfer, and more individuals choosing work over school."
According to an EMU report, its total enrollment fell by 3.8% from 21,105 in fall 2016 to 20,313 in fall 2017.