JCSU says discounted tuition is reason for layoffs

JCSU says discounted tuition is reason for layoffs

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 6:48 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Johnson C. Smith University announced employee layoffs Thursday to help put the school back on better financial footing. 

According to a memo NBC Charlotte obtained from Johnson C. Smith University President Dr. Ronald Carter, the school's cost of helping underprivileged kids pay for school when student loans wouldn't cover all tuition started to seriously erode the university's bottom line.

That discounted tuition cost JCSU $6.56 million this school year. It cost $4.9 million last school year, and $3.4 million the year before that, the memo said.

"When we see that we need to save money, we then look at ways of cutting budgets,” Dr. Carter said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Those rising costs prompted cuts and changes outlined in the memo NBC Charlotte first reported Wednesday, including:
 

  • Layoffs
  • Freezing or eliminating vacant staff positions
  • Implementing unpaid furlough for staff
  • Ending or renegotiating vendor contracts
  • Identifying additional outsourcing
  • Pursuing alternative revenue streams


Carter calls it "rightsizing" that will help solidify JCSU's financial foundation.

In that same memo, Carter says out of 1,801 students enrolled last year, nearly 300 couldn't bridge the gap between their financial aid and the cost of tuition. JCSU discounted tuition to 180 of them and 120 others put their college dreams on hold to return home.

"Not at all, haven't heard anything about it,” said JCSU student Herbert Butts.

He feels like he should have been told right away too, not just faculty and staff.

"Because if our money and tuition is going into the school, we should know everything that's going into it or coming out,” Butts said.

Student David McFadden feels for the employees losing their jobs.

"I really do, it's an unfortunate thing. But cutbacks, if they have to be made, they have to be made. It’s unfortunate."

JCSU says those losing their jobs will get career counseling, and other employees will have to adjust their duties.

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