Bradley University is offering buyouts to all full-time employees in an effort to trim costs as the institution faces a grim upcoming year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stephen Standifird, the school's new president, said staff and faculty can opt into the buyout program through June 11, with no restrictions on age or years of employment. The university will accept the applications based on available funding, strategic programming, and operational decisions.
"While this is a very personal decision, your choice also has important consequences for Bradley University," wrote Standifird in a letter to employees. "Like much of higher education, we face significant challenges related to COVID-19. We also have a significant deficit we need to resolve. To do so, we have to reduce the university’s personnel expenses."
Standifird said the offer is time-sensitive, and likely one time only. He said "involuntary reductions" are also likely to happen as the university continues cutting costs.
The university faced multimillion dollar deficits and potential department and degree eliminations even before COVID-19 forced the school to online-only courses following spring break. But the university is now eyeing chopping its overall budget by up to 25 percent, or $40 million, as enrollment is expected to sharply decline next semester.
Eligible employees will receive half of their base salary for the 2020-21 school year. Health insurance would continue through September 30, 2020. Eligible employees and some family members would also be able to continue receiving tuition remission through June 2024. Employees enrolling in the program who are already eligible for retirement may be able to also receive those benefits.
Informational sessions for staff are planned in the first week of June.
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