YSU predicts enrollment decline, state funding reductions

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Youngstown State University trustees approved their 2021 budget plan Thursday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University trustees approved their 2021 budget plan Thursday, and the news is grim.

Trustees are expecting a 15% decline in enrollment and a 20% reduction in state funding.

The $157.9 million operating budget is $26.1 million less than last fiscal year.

Salary reductions, furloughs, layoffs and reorganization of academic operations are also part of the plan.

“This budget reflects the significant impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our university, the economy and our students,” President Jim Tressel said. “While difficult, this plan also presents the opportunity for YSU to continue to offer a quality, affordable higher education that focuses on the success of our students and our community.”

The enrollment decline will hit the university with a $15.1 million loss, even with a tuition increase of $82 per semester for continuing students and $189 for incoming freshmen.

The outlook is stalling an upward trend by the university that boasted record enrollment over the past two years.

The university stands to lose $8.8 million in state funding and $652,000 in other revenue sources, largely due to losses in investment earning, officials said.

Spending cuts will total $24.6 million and include salary reductions of 2% to 15% for management staff along with furloughs, and layoffs impacting 40 to 60 employees.

A dean’s position is being eliminated and 18 academic departments will consolidate with the merger of the Beeghly College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences into the new Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Education. 

“We are confident that these extraordinary steps will help stabilize our budget and place us on a path back to more traditional revenue and expenditure scenarios moving forward,” said Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Business Operations.

Trustees have also adopted the new Take Charge of Our Future Strategic Action Plan, which has been under development for two years.

The plan calls for new vision and value statements for the university, framing YSU as an “institution of opportunity” committed to student success and lifelong learning.

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