Layoff plans are in the works at Penn State, Pennsylvania’s largest public university, amid a budget deficit and what the school’s new president calls a “vulnerable” financial situation, Spotlight PA reports.
President Neeli Bendapudi said budget cuts to some units will be steeper than expected, and department heads are eyeing layoffs in response.
According to internal communications obtained by Spotlight PA, department heads were asked to submit the number of employees they plan to layoff by the end of June. The university has declined to provide an approximate timeline for when employees will know if their job is being cut.
The administration under President Bendapudi is attempting to balance its budget by 2025 after the system operated last fiscal year with a general funds budget deficit of more than $125 million. She said that while the university is “not in a financial crisis,” it is “in a vulnerable state.”
Since the deficit revelations last summer, Penn State adopted a “strategic hiring freeze” and a new budget model for the coming fiscal year.
Bendapudi told the university community in September that she had not anticipated the financial challenges. University trustees, who have approved Penn State’s budget for years, also said they were caught off guard.
The trustees approved the current $149 million deficit with “the expectation that we would present budgets with smaller deficits for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 in July 2023,” Bendapudi wrote in a memo. The university says the budget process for the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years is ongoing.