- Vermont State University plans to cut 33 full-time administrative and staff positions to save around $3.1 million annually, officials announced Friday.
- The wide-ranging cuts include positions in admissions and enrollment services, student advising, communications, alumni affairs, and campus operations. The cuts will be carried out through 25 layoffs or voluntary buyouts, elimination of six vacant positions, and two planned retirements.
- The moves are Vermont State’s latest attempt to remedy its finances. The public institution already has announced plans to phase out 10 academic programs and lay off up to 33 full-time faculty members.
In a report Friday, Vermont State officials said 21 of the cut positions will be at the executive, management or supervisory levels.
“The faculty have argued, rightly, that if we examine and recommend adjustments to future degree programs — which impact their members — then it is only fair that we examine other parts of the organization for consolidation and savings,” the officials wrote in the report.
Vermont State University formally launched in July as the merger of three financially struggling colleges — Castleton University, Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College. Now that the operations of those universities have combined, officials are looking for further cost savings, they said.
“While none of this work has been easy — in fact, it has been very difficult — it is absolutely necessary if we are to continue to serve our students and ensure our financial health in the years to come,” officials wrote in the report.
State lawmakers have instructed Vermont State to reduce its structural deficit by $5 million annually over the next five years.
University officials have already laid out plans to trim its academic offerings, moves that it expects to save up to $3.4 million annually.
Altogether, officials expect cuts and other measures to result in $12 million in ongoing savings. The academic and administrative cuts will also help Vermont State achieve financial viability by fiscal 2027, according to the report. However, the university will still need “healthy enrollment numbers” and steady state support.
Vermont State announced in September that it had hit its enrollment target by welcoming over 1,400 new students for the fall 2023 term. The university had budgeted for a 6% drop in overall enrollment and a 15% decline in new students.
Overall, the university has over 5,200 students.
Most staff who will be affected by the administrative layoffs were informed last week, according to Friday’s report. The last on-site day for the majority of laid-off workers will be in December.
The university is implementing other changes to cut costs, including reducing employee retirement benefits and potentially adding Vermont State staff to the healthcare plan for state workers.
On the academic side, Vermont State Interim President Michael Smith is currently considering feedback about the university’s proposed cuts. He is slated to make final decisions by Tuesday, which will be shared with faculty during a November meeting
David Bergh, president of the recently closed Cazenovia College, will replace Smith as interim president on Wednesday. He is expected to remain in the position for about a year and a half.