FVSU Lays Off 115 Faculty and Staff | Education
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More than 100 employees at Fort Valley State University are looking for work after being laid off.
University vice president Canter Brown says the majority of those being laid off are part-time and temporary employees, like adjunct faculty.
"Relatively few of those employees are full-time," Brown says.
13WMAZ reported in late September that Fort Valley State University was planning layoffs to compensate for budget cuts dictated by a 5 percent drop in state funding. At the time, they could not provide exact numbers.
Brown says 115 employees were notified on Friday. Non-faculty employees were told by the director of Human Resources for the university, and faculty employees were told by the VP of Academic Affairs. Adjuncts were told that their contracts would not be renewed.
Some employees may also be laid-off if it is determined that the university can keep accreditation without them. But Brown said he did not expect it to be many more.
Low enrollment, a problem affecting universities around the state, has been complicated, Brown says, by a conflict between FVSU's "historic mission" and the admission standards set by the University of Georgia System's Board of Regents.
Before this fall semester, the university requested a less strict interpretation of the board's standards so it could admit students who Brown described as "capable of succeeding in college."
The conflict cost FVSU about 600 students they would have normally admitted last fall, Brown says.
Brown says FVSU, since its founding in 1895, has reached out "primarily to minorities," first-generation college students and students from a disadvantaged background. Because of their background, he said, these students may score a few points lower on the SAT or ACT tests than the board's standard but otherwise able to complete college coursework.
The approach works, Brown says, because more of FVSU's minority students go on to a advanced degrees than any other school in the University of Georgia System. He said the same is true of FVSU graduates who go on to work in healthcare and energy.
He expects enrollment to rebound next fall but said that he hopes an aggressive recruiting campaign will keep enrollment steady or help it grow in the spring.
But the largest impact will be whether federal financial aid is cut. Brown says about 98 percent of FVSU students are on financial aid and many of those who dropout of the university do so after their sophomore year for financial reasons.
"When we rebuild that enrollment, we will hire more," Brown say.