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Mansfield University announces layoffs

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Mansfield University announces layoffs
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In order to fight the numbers of a grueling deficit, Mansfield University leaders are faced with cutting positions. YNN's Katie Husband explains the root cause of the negative numbers.

TIOGA COUNTY, Pa. -- Higher education across the state of Pennsylvania is feeling the strain of dwindling resources, particularly at Mansfield University. Leaders say the college is facing a projected $14.3 million deficit over the next two years.

"It's across higher education as a whole. There's less money. The economic collapse back in 2008 kind of started the ball rolling and it's just continued, the economy hasn't recovered as quickly as anyone would like," said Terry Day, assistant director of public relations at Mansfield University.

The state's appropriation for MU have decreased by nearly 14 percent since 2008. Now, 29 full time faculty and at least 25 staff and administrative positions are in jeopardy. Leaders say the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties were informed at the end of the last academic year that the deficit was at $3 million.

"This academic year should not be a surprise to people, including the administration's hiring patterns this year, they knew there were going to be problems this year," said Ronald Straub, president of the Mansfield Chapter Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

Day says the lack of funding is felt throughout all campuses across Pennsylvania, but another factor that's causing the deficit here on Mansfield University's campus is the decline in the number of high school students over the past three years.

"There are a few students who are eligible to go to college and therefore, all the schools are basically fighting over the same kids and that's a reduced number. The number is continuing to fall and is projected to continue to fall here in Pennsylvania at least until 2019-2020 before we have a chance of an uptick," said Day.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the positions that could be cut.

"We're hopeful at least some individuals will not be retrenched. They will definitely know by the end of October if they truly are going to receive those letters of retrenchment or, for the public layoffs," said Straub.

College leaders say in order to keep Mansfield and other schools viable for the long haul, there needs to be a major boost in funding.

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