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Morehouse College announcing terminations, furloughs, pay cuts amid pandemic

Morehouse said it has estimated a potential 25 percent decline in enrollment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATLANTA — Morehouse College is making some financial adjustments to offset the impacts of COVID-19 and to address the budget gap. In doing so, the school announced it will implement a reduction in force, furloughs, and pay cuts.

The news comes just months after the college announced a similar cost-saving measure that was later canceled. Back in September, the school announced a budget shortfall and said it would begin furlough days for faculty and staff in October once a month for the next nine months, saying that 415 employees would be impacted. However, in October, the school said the furloughs had been canceled. 

Now, just like other institutions and businesses, the school is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Morehouse is anticipating that the pandemic will impact enrollment. President David A. Thomas said cuts are necessary for the future stability of the school.

"In its fiscal year 2020-2021 planning assumptions, the College has estimated a potential 25 percent decline in enrollment as a result of COVID-19 – in line with the decrease it experienced after the Great Recession," the news release said.

Here's a look at some of the adjustments for the initial phase:

  • 54 part-time and full-time employees will be furloughed for two months
  • 13 full-time employees will be terminated effective June 1.
  • 194 exempt full-time employees will face pay cuts effective June 1, which will extend to at least Dec. 31, 2021. 
  • Faculty and staff members who earn more than $55,000 annually will receive a pay reduction of 10 to 15 percent, depending on their income levels. 

The school also said Thomas is voluntarily decreasing his salary 25 percent.

RELATED: Morehouse College says furloughs announced last month are canceled

Non-exempt employees and jobs that are funded through federal grants, however, will not be affected by the pay cuts. For the time being, the school is suspending merit increases, hiring, and non-essential purchasing, and travel, they said. Officials said the first phase of the reduction plan will save Morehouse $3.4 million. 

“While these cuts address the expected budget shortfall caused by structural issues and COVID-19, we have the opportunity to reinvent how we address the market and educate future generations of Morehouse Men," Thomas said.

RELATED: Morehouse unveils portrait of Oprah Winfrey as she donates additional $13M to scholarship fund

Academic programs will be evaluated for consolidation in the next phase of the plan. Since March 23, the school has been conducting online instruction. They said they plan to continue to operate virtually until further notice.

“Our immediate focus will be to bring our faculty and staff back together to chart a course through the opportunities presented by this new reality we’re all in. It will require an entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in order to diversify and grow our revenue streams – while upholding our mission and celebrating the traditions and people that make Morehouse unique," Thomas said.

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