Budget issues force Fort Valley State University to cut 120 jobs
Due to declining enrollments, Fort Valley State University was facing serious budget issues, to be exact, $5.2 million.
The deficit was blamed on the lost of about 300 students since the beginning of the semester and various cuts by the Governor's Office of Planning and Budgeting.
"Our ability to provide private funds to help offer scholarships and loans to students in addition to what the government provides has really been impacted," said Canter Brown, Fort Valley State University's Executive Vice President.
The campus was forced to make $3.8 million dollars in immediate cuts in order to stay on track to maintain a balanced budget for the end of the fiscal year as state law requires.
The Governor's Office ordered a call back on state funds allocated for various universities, one being Fort Valley State.
"We are affected by the state of Georgia cutting the Hope Scholarship Program and by the fact that U.S. Congress has cut our other traditional programs," said Canter.
Programs such as the Pell Grant along with an increase in interest rates on Family Plus Loans forced the school to cut 120 positions, most of whom were temporary faculty. Brown says the cut positions are not likely to be revisited by the school.
"We need faculty to teach the students we have," said Brown. "As our enrollment grows in the future we will need to have people back (as needed) to teach those students."
To bridge the gap, the layoffs and cuts in programs equal $3.8 million.
"In one or two cases we have even eliminated programs within the university," said Brown. "We have gone from having the Academic Success Center which advises students, to now where faculty members will advise students."
Brown says an aggressive enrollment campaign is in place for the spring semester. If the school can keep its current enrollment, no further cuts will be needed.
"We will experience a little discomfort and pain temporarily," said Brown. "But in the long run this campus, this university will grow and thrive."