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University of Delaware eyes layoffs, cost cuts amid COVID-19

September 24, 2020 GMT

NEWARK, Del. (AP) — University of Delaware officials announced Thursday that they are implementing a variety of cost-cutting measures because of the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said that without the cost cutting, the school would be facing a $250 million gap between revenues and expenses this academic year.

UD President Dennis Assanis said the school already has eliminated most discretionary expenses for this year and plans to draw $100 million from its endowment, but personnel actions must now be taken.

The announced measures include a voluntary retirement incentive program offering five months of base salary for staff who meet age criteria and have worked for the university for at least 20 years.

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The university is also allowing employees to choose to temporarily scale back their work hours, while planning for non-voluntary layoffs as well. Affected employees will be notified “as soon as possible” by their supervisors.

“Unfortunately, over the next several weeks, we will also implement a period of unpaid leave and temporary reductions to retirement contributions for all staff,” Assanis said in a prepared statement.

Officials said the cost-cutting measures apply only to staffers, not faculty members, but that administrators are continuing to talk with unions representing professors and other employees.

The school said the financial impacts it has experienced include an enrollment decline of 10% for first-year students and a 5% drop in students returning as sophomores compared to last year’s classes, loss of tuition and fee revenue, cancellation of athletic contests and other events, increased financial aid because of the economic downturn and residence halls at less than 20% capacity.

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