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UNCG lays off 13 in its online division
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UNCG lays off 13 in its online division

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UNCG campus library student center

UNCG, here with Jackson Library (left) and the Elliott University Center, has laid off 13 employees in its online division. Last week's layoffs came about three months after UNCG announced four-week furloughs of all full-time employees and other cost-cutting measures in its athletics department.

GREENSBORO — UNCG has laid off 13 employees in its online division as it deals with budget fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The job cuts took place last week in UNCG Online, which runs the university's online graduate and undergraduate degree programs. UNCG spokeswoman Eden Bloss said affected employees got "very generous" severance packages and can keep their university health care coverage for the next year. These former employees also will get priority consideration for job openings at UNCG.

UNCG has about 3,050 employees.

In a statement to the News & Record, Bloss said the layoffs were a result of enrollment and revenue declines and increased costs due to the pandemic.

"Difficult times will mean difficult, but necessary, decisions to reduce expenses and address large and unexpected budget gaps created by these major simultaneous challenges ... " Bloss said. "At UNCG, resource actions that impact people are a last resort, but will be necessary in some cases."

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Last week's layoffs came about three months after UNCG announced four-week furloughs of all full-time employees and other cost-cutting measures in its athletics department. UNCG athletics expects a revenue decrease of at least 20% for the current 2020-21 school year largely due to the cancellation of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in March.

Nationwide, many other colleges and universities are struggling with the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has depressed enrollment by about 3%.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week that about 10% of workers at the nation's public and private institutions have lost their jobs since March when the pandemic began. The Chronicle said colleges and universities cut nearly 500,000 jobs between February and September. That number doesn't include contractors, such as food service, housekeeping and other employees, who work on college campuses but are employed by outside companies.

UNCG and many other universities, meanwhile, are bracing for more budget cuts as the pandemic continues.

UNCG leaders said in September that they expect to see a $24.2 million budget deficit for the 2020-21 year because enrollment declined slightly this fall — it fell 2.1% from a year ago — and because far fewer students are on campus than in a normal year. With fewer students living in campus housing and more students opting to take online instead of in-person classes, UNCG is projecting significant losses of housing, dining and parking revenue.

Despite the budget challenges, "UNCG remains fundamentally sound and on the right track," Bloss said. 

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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