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Jobs, expenses cut to balance IUP budget

Indiana University of Pennsylvania cut jobs and trimmed department expenses to overcome an $8 million deficit and finalize its 2010-11 budget this week, officials said.

The initial budget included nearly $189 million in expenses, which would have exceeded expected revenues by about $8.6 million. That deficit was eliminated with about $4.1 million in permanent budget cuts and about $4.5 million in temporary cuts. The final budget was about $500,000 lower than last year.

Dr. Cornelius Wooten, vice president for administration and finance, said that only vacant faculty positions were cut. These included 11 permanent full-time jobs and about 23 temporary jobs for a savings of $2.4 million.

Wooten's office did not provide a detailed list of budget cuts because the specifics were not finalized, but a summary showed that savings came from reductions to the operating budgets of the academic affairs and student affairs departments as well as cuts to personnel in those departments and in administration and finance. The budget used more than $800,000 in carryover savings.

The budget includes a 3.43 percent increase in tuition and smaller increases in student fees.

New tuition rates were not available, but last year, in-state undergraduates paid $2,777 per semester, while out-of-state students paid $6,943. In-state graduate students paid $3,333, and out-of-state students paid $5,333.

Francisco Alarcón, vice president of IUP's chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, said that the union was "seriously concerned" about the cuts to faculty positions.

"Eliminating 30 positions means you will have eliminated about 100 courses per semester," he said. "The only way that can be accomplished is by increasing class sizes or by not offering certain things. It can have the potential impact of actually delaying graduation."

With a projected fall enrollment of up to 15,200 students, Alarcón said cutting jobs was especially worrisome to the 800 permanent and temporary faculty members because the university has lost about 100 tenure-track positions in the past decade.

"They say we're in a bad position, that we need to tighten our belts, but faculty have been doing that," said Alarcón, who chairs the math department.

There may be more belt-tightening to come as IUP looks to 2011-12, when the university will lose about $5 million in federal stimulus dollars.

In an e-mail, Wooten said that the university may cut more faculty positions, possibly through furloughs. Wooten said there would be new "revenue generation efforts" and "cost containment strategies."

"The university community will be fully engaged in this process," Wooten said. "Every effort will be made to protect IUP's central core mission, the academic integrity of the university, and to preserve quality, excellence and essential services."

Alarcón said the faculty union is planning to meet with the administration later this month to discuss next year's budget.

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