Fairfield University institutes measures to reduce budget


In response to the current national economic crisis, Fairfield University officials announced Monday that the institution has implemented several budget-cutting measures to reduce its operating expenses for the coming academic year by $5 million, in order to maintain a balanced budget. The University's commitment to student financial aid is increasing significantly, up nearly 20% over last year to $36 million. The University's endowment revenue is down, in keeping with what is happening at many higher education institutions.

Among the steps taken is a reduction of the workforce, a measure unprecedented in the institution's history. The actions were taken following a June 4th Board of Trustees meeting.

In a letter to the Fairfield community, University President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., stressed that because the University has always been managed in a fiscally conservative and responsible manner, the institution is in a more fortunate situation in comparison to many peers. Father von Arx said, "We have adopted a phased approach to budget reductions, making only the most essential cost reductions in response to specific budget impacts as they arise, and we intend to proceed in this careful way, in order to protect the quality of our programs and maintain our focus on the institutions' strategic priorities."

While indications are that Fairfield will meet its class goal of approximately 900 students for the class of 2013, Father von Arx cited a greater than anticipated financial aid need for incoming and current students. In addition, the endowment returns, which have been seriously affected by the recession, will continue to have an adverse affect on the institution's revenue position for at least two more years.

Among the actions taken are the following:

  • Zero salary increases for all employees
  • Reduction of the workforce by 31 individuals
  • Reduction in operating expenses by approximately 5%
  • Implementation of a 3.9% tuition increase - the smallest increase in tuition since 1973
  • Increase in financial aid commitments to over $36 million
  • Postponement of plans to enhance student residence facilities
  • Re-negotiation of vendor contracts to achieve savings

Acknowledging that the cuts are not without pain, Father von Arx said, "It will be a difficult time for all of us as we will be asked to do more with less, but these budget reductions are essential given the extraordinary economic times in which we find ourselves." He assured the University community that there continues to be a firm commitment to the institution's strategic goals and to increasing the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the student body. "I have no doubt that Fairfield will prosper, and that we will continue to enhance the already excellent educational opportunities that we offer to our students and to the community."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 9, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 356