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Colby-Sawyer College lays off 18 in cost-cutting move that affects 41 positions

Staff report
December 06. 2016 8:33PM

NEW LONDON — Colby-Sawyer College administrators confirmed they had laid off 18 employees this week as part of a restructuring to deal with a $2.6 million operating loss in the current school year.

Notices were sent out to seven faculty members and 11 other staffers on Monday that they would be losing their jobs.

College President Sue Stuebner said that in other personnel actions 11 workers will have their work hours reduced while another dozen employees who left their jobs will not be replaced.

The current deficit stems from declining enrollment at the liberal arts college that reached a peak of 1,500 students four years ago but has dropped to 1,100 currently.

Other cost-saving moves are being made, Stuebner said, including $410,000 in savings through private contracts, changes in health insurance and administrative costs.

Colby-Sawyer has dealt with shortfalls before. The school ended the 2014-2015 school year — the most recent year for which information is available — with a $2.3 million deficit. That year, the school reported revenues of $70.1 million and expenditures of $72.4 million.

When Steubner took the job before this school year she said one of her goals was to identify what would be the college’s “ideal size” so as to prevent the need to make year-to-year cuts in spending as they are now doing.

The school has a discount rate of about 60 percent, meaning students pay an average of 40 percent of the tuition price of $38,610 per year, not including room and board, which costs another $13,000.

Of the $49.2 million in tuition Colby-Sawyer collected in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the school gave out $36.1 million in scholarships.

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