Georgia Tech to lay off 27 workers, citing pandemic’s financial strain

Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera talks with Sophia Bowie, 18, freshman Computer Science major, and her mother Pam Bowie (right), of Chicago, Illinois, as he helps them moving in outside Glenn Hall in Georgia Tech campus on Saturday, August 8, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera talks with Sophia Bowie, 18, freshman Computer Science major, and her mother Pam Bowie (right), of Chicago, Illinois, as he helps them moving in outside Glenn Hall in Georgia Tech campus on Saturday, August 8, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia Tech plans to lay off 27 workers and not fill 129 vacant positions because of financial hardships created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Based upon the latest tuition and state revenue projections, the Institute is reducing its budget by $33.7 million for FY 21,” Kelly Fox, Georgia Tech’s executive vice president of administration and finance, said in an email to employees Thursday. “In response to this budget reduction, some units have reduced operational expenditures in addition to making the difficult decision to reduce workforce.”

The message does not say which current positions will be terminated.

The email also says 109 Georgia Tech employees will retire by Dec. 31 as part of its Voluntary Separation Incentive Program. Those employees must been age and years of service requirements. They may also receive a payment equivalent to four months of their salary.

State lawmakers ordered Georgia Tech and the 25 other schools in the University System of Georgia cut their budgets by 10% earlier this year, citing revenue declines from the pandemic. Georgia Tech administrators have spent months exploring ways to cut expenses.

“Moving forward, we will continue to analyze factors that contribute to the health of Georgia Tech’s budget including spring enrollment and state revenues,” the email said. “Again, I acknowledge the stress and anxiety this is causing you during these incredibly challenging times.”

Georgia Tech’s announcement came a day after the University System released a report showing the school’s enrollment increased by about 9% this fall, to nearly 40,000 students. System officials attributed much of the enrollment growth to students taking online graduate program.

Despite the enrollment increase at Georgia Tech and several other University System schools, officials have reported a revenue decline in recent months. The system’s actual revenues were down nearly $150 million between July and September this year in comparison to the same time frame in 2019, according to a staff presentation made Wednesday to the Georgia Board of Regents. System officials say they’ve collected less money from education facility rentals, summer camps and various student activity fees.

Nationally, employment at public colleges and universities has dropped by almost 14% compared to pre-pandemic totals, according to an analysis published this week by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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