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Marquette University announces layoffs to trim costs

Marquette University

Marquette University is eliminating 25 staff positions — its first workforce reduction since the mid-1990s — as part of an effort to cut costs and create efficiencies so that a Marquette education will continue to be affordable, Interim President Father Robert Wild announced in a letter to faculty and staff.

“I am sad to share that 25 of our Marquette colleagues have been told or are in the process of being told that their employment with Marquette has ended,” Wild said in the letter, emailed across campus over the noon hour. “The colleagues affected by this news are wonderful people who have contributed well to the university.”

No faculty members are affected.

The reductions, combined with future employee turnover, retirements and not filling some vacancies, are expected to reduce Marquette’s current employee base of 2,800 by approximately 105 positions, according to Wild’s letter.

The university declined to reveal which department or departments were affected by Wednesday’s workforce reduction, citing confidentiality and respect for those involved. Each person whose position is eliminated will receive a severance package that includes extended pay and benefits, and will be offered spiritual and career transition assistance, Wild said.

Since returning to campus as interim president in the fall, Wild has often discussed consolidating work and emphasizing operational efficiencies to reduce financial strain on students.

It will cost about $47,000 for an undergraduate to attend Marquette next year, including tuition, fees and room and board, though about 98% of students receive financial aid.

The Marquette Board of Trustees last month voted to raise tuition by $1,280 for undergraduates, to $35,480. Typical room and board is $11,000 and fees add another $450 to the cost.

The undergrad tuition increase was the lowest increase in both dollar amount and percentage (3.75%) in the last three years, according to the university.

There will be no increases for summer school, part-time enrollment, Graduate School, Graduate School of Management or College of Professional Studies.

In an effort to contain the university’s operational costs, deans and vice presidents conducted reviews of their colleges and operating divisions and submitted plans in December.

Members of the President’s Advisory Group then reviewed the proposals and discussed with campus leaders how to incorporate those proposals into future plans.

“With families stretched to the limit in their ability to afford additional tuition costs, these challenging times require us to take difficult but necessary steps,” Wild said in his letter Wednesday.

“Only by aligning our operations and resources with our fiscal realities can we keep a Marquette education affordable for our students. We must do this while ensuring the long-term health of the university and continuing to pursue important new initiatives as called for in our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries.”

Looking ahead to finalizing next year’s budget, “we remain engaged in a larger effort to make certain that Marquette is well positioned in a higher education environment that is both challenging and changing,” Wild wrote.

The university is continuing to work on creative ideas to target new revenues, while maintaining efficiencies, he said. The university also is revitalizing enrollment strategies “to be sure we are doing our best to connect with prospective students — undergraduates, graduates, transfers, professional program and summer study participants,” Wild said.

Plus, the interim president said, “we continue to focus on increasing philanthropic support for operations and current-use scholarships in a way that has already produced encouraging results this year.”

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