Steep enrollment drop brings faculty layoffs at Midway College

lblackford@herald-leader.comSeptember 10, 2013 

An 18 percent drop in enrollment will mean faculty layoffs at Midway College, officials announced Tuesday. In addition, the school is suspending its matching contributions to employee retirement accounts for the rest of the academic year.

The new president of the small Woodford County college, John Marsden, said enrollment shortfalls came both in recruitment of new students and retention of old ones.

"As an institution that is so heavily dependent on tuition revenue, cuts have to be made," Marsden said in a news release. "After exhausting all other options, some faculty contracts will be eliminated from this fiscal year in order to balance the budget."

Spokeswoman Ellen Gregory said she was unsure of the exact number of affected faculty, but thought it would be around a dozen out of a total faculty of 54. About 16 staff positions were eliminated in July and August, officials said. Midway has about 150 full-time employees.

Board of Trustee Chairwoman Donna Moore said cutting the school's retirement match was a fair across-the-board cut.

"Although a difficult decision to make, we felt that suspending the retirement match would be an equitable measure and less impactful to our employees," she said.

Marsden noted that a 5 percent salary increase for all employees took effect in January 2013.

Since taking over as president in February, Marsden has hired a new provost, vice president for development and dean of enrollment management. The search continues for a new chief financial officer.

"I'm hopeful that we will soon begin making more positive announcements on the progress we are making," Marsden said. "It is never easy to make personnel cuts, but all this is being done for the long-term benefit of the college. I am asking all of our staff and faculty to continue to remain focused on our students and provide them with the best educational experience possible."

Midway College is a small private college that caters mostly to women students. It is located on 200 acres in Midway and had 1,662 students in the fall of 2012.

Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford

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