Arizona State University has resorted to drastic measures after the Arizona state legislature cut back funding for 18 percent of the university’s budget to deal with a $1.6 billion state budget deficit.
ASU president Michael Crow announced on Tuesday that the university was going to cap enrollment, shut down academic programs and downsize two of its campuses.
According to the Arizona Republic, a daily newspaper based in Phoenix, in addition to cutting four departments from its engineering school, the Tempe campus is eliminating over 30 graduate-degree programs and the clinical laboratory sciences programs.
The College of Technology and Innovation is now the only college remaining at the Polytechnic campus, while the West campus will no longer offer any graduate degree programs. Some colleges are being shifted to different campuses.
The university is also limiting its enrollment and closing applications to rising freshmen in March, five months earlier than usual.
“The state has decided they can’t continue to invest [in higher education] in the same way they have,” Crow said to the Arizona Republic. “Now, [Arizona State Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Russell Pearce] says he doesn’t care whether the university is open or not.”
Crow told the Arizona Republic that he expects more employees to lose their jobs in addition to the nearly 600 positions which have already been cut.
The Polytechnic and West campuses may also have to be shut down in 2010.
University officials have been taking measures to help students already enrolled in eliminated programs.
“Anyone enrolled in a [graduate] program being terminated will be allowed to finish in a reasonable time,” ASU spokeswoman Terry Shafer said to the Arizona Republic.
Faculty members have also been offering to take part in voluntary pay cuts instead of mandatory furlough days, which are days during which they are asked not to work.
“Had I taken 12 [furlough] days, I would’ve basically had to cancel the semester,” Andrew Weed, a professor at the College of Design, said to the ASU Web Devil, the ASU online news site.
These cuts have come after five years of growth with 14 transdisciplinary schools and plans to increase enrollment to 100,000 by 2010.