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Projected deficit triggers UF hiring freeze
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published July 3, 2007
GAINESVILLE - The University of Florida will implement a hiring freeze because of a projected deficit of up to $30-million caused by a decline in revenue and rising expenses, school president Bernie Machen said Monday.
"This was not an easy decision, " Machen said in a statement. "Education is our top priority, so we need to make sure that we continue to give our students the classes and other services they need."
The freeze will apply to all faculty and staff members at all 35, 000 UF units throughout the state. Exceptions will be considered for positions funded by nonstate sources, such as clinical revenue, contracts and grants.
No layoffs are planned.
The revenue shortfall is the result of no tuition increases for the upcoming year and a change in the way the Legislature funds enrollment.
The university has about 51, 000 students.
In addition, a slowing state economy is creating a slump in sales tax revenue, which state officials said could lead to a budget shortfall later in the year.
Gov. Charlie Crist told state agencies last week to plan for budget cuts the next two years and told state agency heads to anticipate a minimum reduction of 4 percent per year.
Machen said the hiring freeze is the first of several measures the university plans to address the projected deficit.
He said plans to name a task force of faculty members, staffers and students to come up with ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Officials will also look at increasing the number of credit hours undergraduates can take each semester, allowing students to graduate more quickly.
Another possibility is asking the university's direct support organizations to contribute to the university's academic costs.