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Northwestern furloughs 250 workers amid budget shortfall

May 12, 2020 GMT

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern University has furloughed 250 workers and suspended contributions to employee retirement funds as it reports a $90 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Monday.

The university also announced top officials will be taking a 10% to 20% cut in pay and it will draw on its endowment.

University president Morton Schapiro said in a statement that even if activities are resumed in the fall on its Evanston and Chicago campuses, the university will have a significant budget shortfall in the 2021 fiscal year.

``We expect to see repercussions from the pandemic for some time,” Schapiro said in his statement, noting the university’s work brings large numbers of people together in classrooms, dormitories, hospitals and other venues. ``As such, a pandemic places extreme pressure on all our major functions and on associated revenue streams.”

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The cost-saving moves Northwestern announced Monday follows weeks after it adopted hiring restrictions, paused travel by university staff and deferred most facilities projects.

Northwestern rejected the $8.5 million in stimulus money offered by the U.S. Department of Education, as did other wealthy private schools such as Harvard and Yale universities. The university says it will draw from its $11.1 billion endowment to make up some of its revenue losses.

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