VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta State University announced that they will be laying off 33 people at the end of this academic year. The layoff is the result of a continued decline in enrollment over the past four years, down 17% from their peak in 2011.
The school is facing a reduction of $2.4 million in state funds this year, compared to what they had last year, because of a drop off in enrollment.
"We have done everything that we can to protect faculty positions;/positions with people in them," said Interim Provost, Dr. Brian Gerber.
Dr. Gerber anticipates another decrease in state funds next year, but says he does not anticipate having to make any more cuts.
Dr. Cecil P. Staton, interim president of Valdosta State University, issued the following update to faculty, staff, alumni, stakeholders, and friends of the university:
In October, Valdosta State University will present its proposed budget for the 2016-2017 academic year to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. As most of you know, enrollment at VSU has declined in recent years. From our peak enrollment in 2011, enrollment has declined almost 17 percent. The formula for allocating state funds is based largely on enrollment and corresponding credit hour production. As our enrollment has declined, so has our revenue. We therefore, unfortunately, face difficult budget decisions.
In preparing the budget for 2016-2017, Valdosta State University's enrollment decline translates into a state funds decline of $2.4 million. Loss of tuition income results in a further $1 million reduction in revenue. Both must be accounted for in the new budget proposal.
Although enrollment in VSU graduate programs is projected to be up significantly this fall, overall enrollment at VSU and credit hour production are projected to be down, continuing the trends of recent years. Utilizing fund balances and vacant staff and faculty positions to make up the difference, as has been done in recent years, is no longer a viable option.
I deeply regret that difficult decisions have to be made to ensure the continued well-being of the university. To that end, our budget will propose a reduction in faculty and staff positions in order to match more closely our personnel strength with current enrollment and credit hour production.
As a result, this week VSU will be notifying 33 faculty and staff members that their positions will not be renewed at the end of the current academic year. We do not make these decisions lightly and understand the impact on the families affected, which is why we are telling faculty and staff this week so they have notice as far in advance as possible.
While this reduction represents less than three percent of our total workforce, it is necessary to adjust personnel levels without negatively impacting student achievement or services. Our goal remains to provide a quality academic and living climate for all VSU students, as well as a rewarding work environment for faculty and staff.
To assist the affected individuals, we will provide transition support including funds for appropriate job search related activities. Again, we will support them in every way we can and do regret having to take this action.
In the meantime, we will be working across our campus to identify, encourage, and develop solutions designed to increase retention and enrollment.
Valdosta State is a great university in a wonderful and supportive community. Our strengths are a committed faculty and staff, a diverse and hopeful community of student scholars, and faithful alumni. With the continued support of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends, VSU is well positioned for what promises to be an exciting future.
Valdosta State University will be the intellectual, cultural, and economic center of our region.
I appreciate the importance of VSU to this community and look forward to a stronger VSU in the years ahead.