A $20 million ‘Gap’ Appears at the University of Memphis

The University of Memphis has a $20 million “gap” in its finances due mainly to declining enrollment and reduced state revenue, reports the Memphis Flyer.

“We don’t have a deficit,” said David Zettergren, vice-president for business and finance. “We are not allowed to have a deficit. We had a balanced budget in the spring and we will have a balanced budget in the fall.”

He described the situation as a “gap” instead and said the university is doing several things to “shore it up” including restructuring workloads, voluntary buyouts, and “efficiencies” on the administrative side.

“We have done voluntary buyouts in the past, but we need to do more,” he said.

University faculty and staff were made aware of “the gap” this summer. On Tuesday, an email from interim president Brad Martin went out.

“A reconfiguration is required to address the funding gap and meet community work force demands, while also ensuring that tuition remains as low as possible,” it said.

“Beginning immediately, all vacant positions (including faculty, staff, part-time instructors and temporary appointments) will be subject to a strategic hiring review process. This review will evaluate whether to move forward with filling positions based on the implications for enrollment growth, productivity and overall institutional efficiency . . . Some vacant positions will be filled, but many others will be eliminated or combined in conjunction with reconfigurations of the work within some areas.”