Am I Next? No Love at Western Kentucky University - Layoffs

With the Kentucky State budget finalized, it appears that Western Kentucky University may be forced to shed up to 300 in two or more rounds of employee layoffs  to cope with a $31 million budgetary shortfall.

Round one included approximately 119 full-time positions, 1 part-time position, and 40 unfilled positions that will remain unfilled to resolve a $15 million deficit. In addition to reductions in headcount, the University will also undergo some reorganization.

One notable provision of the budget is that tenured faculty can be laid off if their respective programs are also eliminated.

Components of the budgetary shortfall include: the $15 million deficit, the state reduction of $4.6 million, an 8+ million pension obligation and another deficit from changes in enrollment and adjustments to fixed costs. Educational institutions such as WKU live or die by their budgets. And, that the two factors that leads to budgetary flexibility are personnel costs and class offering. 


Am I Next? UCLA Extension Layoffs

UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) Extension, a self-supporting $70 million enterprise which receives no state or campus funding, announced that they will be laying off approximately 25% of their workforce; estimated to be between 50 and 100 employees. 

According to a published report in the school’s newspaper, the Daily Bruin, Extension plans to cut $7 to $8 million from the budget for the next fiscal year to help adapt to a revenue shortfall of approximately $10 million less than projected for the 2017-2018 school year. The primary reason given is decreasing international and domestic enrollment. There are anecdotal stories relating to a lack of leadership of senior management, an underperforming newly-implemented computer system, and a costly relocation to other facilities.

A number of universities are building-out teaching facilities in neighborhood office buildings which feature more centralized classrooms and ease of parking not found on traditional campuses. It should be noted that alternative sources of quality education are placing serious competitive pressure on name-brand universities. MIT’s prestigious reputation backs their online open courseware offerings at little or no cost for those wanting knowledge without the traditional hassles of enrollment and classroom attendance. Additionally, there are a number of well-regarded courses available on YouTube. A number of testing organizations appear to be preparing to capture significant revenue streams by providing certificates of knowledge – if not degrees – from online test centers. 

Are you asking yourself, Am I Next?