The University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Hall

The University of Louisville’s provost sent an email to faculty and staff on Wednesday announcing an immediate hiring freeze that will last until at least Oct. 1, citing an expected revenue shortfall of $6 million in the next academic year due to projected enrollment falling below their goal.

Earlier this year, university leadership announced their intention to make up for a projected $48 million shortfall in the 2017-2018 budget by implementing a salary freeze and a hiring “frost” — in which no more than 25 percent of vacancies would be filled. However, Wednesday’s announcement by provost Dale Billingsley indicated that lower-than-expected enrollment projections — bringing in $6 million less in revenue — would turn that frost into a full freeze.

“To protect a positive cash balance for the remainder of 2017 and to balance the projected 2018 budget, the university is implementing an immediate, temporary general-funds hiring freeze for faculty and staff positions,” wrote Billingsley. “This affects all general-fund positions that are currently vacant and those that will be vacated between now and Oct. 1.”

Billingsley added that this freeze would not extend to student workers, and exemptions to the freeze would only be made “in documented emergencies and with explicit review and consent by me in consultation with the budget advisory committee.” Billingsley wrote that on Oct. 1, he and the budget office “will analyze the university’s progress toward its budget goals and determine if the freeze will continue to a later date.”

University spokesman John Karman confirmed to IL that changing the hiring policy from a frost to a freeze was due to the projected enrollment for next fall not being as large as they expected, but he did not have immediate figures for how far off UofL was from its goal.

This month the UofL board of trustees is expected to pass a budget for the 2017-2018 year that freezes student tuition for the first time in 16 years, with board chairman J. David Grissom recently indicating he would like to continue that freeze for several more years. The board of trustees for the University of Kentucky passed a budget on Tuesday that increased student tuition by 4 percent, while increasing the salary of faculty and staff by 2.5 percent.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]