Montana Tech Declining Revenue May Lead to Job Cuts
Montana Tech, of the University of Montana, finds itself staring down a $3.0-million budget shortfall as enrollment at the university declines by nearly 10%. Montana Tech layoffs in 2018 are therefore being discussed as a possible remedy to these budget woes.
The Montana Tech budget deficit is largely the result of the university being unable to match its peak enrollment rates of 2015 as well as reduced tax funding. As a result, the Montana Tech declining revenue from the lack of student infusion led to cost-cutting measures being discussed for the new year.
Reduced state funding and reduced revenue from a tax levy also played a part in the Montana Tech budget crisis.
While public statements have so far discussed ways of maintaining school operations without cutting staff, officials also said that about 80% of the total budget is allocated toward payroll. If any substantial cuts are needed, then the university may have to look to layoffs in order to make a dent in its budget disparity.
Drop in Enrollment Adding to Budget Woes of Montana Tech
The Montana Tech drop in enrollment certainly hurt the university. In 2015, Montana Tech peaked at 2,980 students. This fall, that number fell to 2,678.
The Montana Tech budget woes, therefore, are a knock-on effect of this slip.
Provost and Vice Chancellor Doug Abbott reportedly told school academic leaders last week that he did not expect any layoffs of faculty to balance the budget in the new year, instead of looking to cut athletics and general travel funds.
Many administrators talked about the need to “right-size” the university. While this will entail a reduction in staff, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll see Montana Tech layoffs in 2018. Instead, the university is hoping that faculty losses through natural attrition will reduce its staff number and the university will leave those positions vacant.
“I know this is a difficult time and an uncertain future, and that there is little I can say to alleviate the anxiety caused by this situation,” wrote Chris Danielson, a professor of history, in a December 8 email.
“I will do everything in my power to see that as few faculty as possible are affected by the economic woes presently affecting us.”
A December 6 email from Doug Coe, Montana Tech’s dean of the college of letters, sciences, and professional studies, further commented on the budgetary problems that the university faced.
“We are asking all academic department/program heads to describe in detail how their department/program could deliver required instruction with one fewer faculty member than was present in the 2016-17 budget,” Coe wrote.
A common refrain heard among a variety of industries during times of financial difficulty, to “do more with less,” is essentially what some faculty are being called upon to perform. As staff numbers are reduced as the years go by, whether via Montana Tech layoffs in 2018 or natural departures, the university is looking to reduce its size in order to combat the budgetary obstacles it faces.
“Montana Tech facing budget cuts,” Great Falls Tribune, December 26, 2017.
“Montana Tech’s budget woes lead to efforts to ‘right-size’,” Montana Standard, December 24, 2017.