Northwestern University furloughs 250 staff; announces benefits, pay cuts amid 'significant shortfall' due to coronavirus pandemic

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Northwestern University announced a series of staff and budget cuts Monday as the school braces for a "significant shortfall" of roughly $90 million for the fiscal year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

University leaders posted a message to the campus community that outlined a number of cost-saving measures put in place to help manage the school's budget during the crisis.

"We expect to see repercussions from the pandemic for some time," the letter stated.

University leadership said approximately 250 staff members will be temporarily furloughed, the university will suspend 5% automatic and 5% match contributions to staff retirement plans, and university leaders will take a 20% pay cut.

NU deans will also take a 10% pay cut reduction.

RELATED: Furlough vs layoff: What's the difference?

"We anticipate a total shortfall of roughly $90 million for the current 2020 fiscal year," the letter stated. "Even if we resume on-campus activity in the fall, as we hope to do by phases, we are likely to see a significant shortfall in the 2021 fiscal year as well, perhaps as great as or greater than what we are experiencing this year."

The new changes come after NU already put a first round of cuts in place including, a hiring and salary freeze, a delay in nonessential construction projects and a reduction in discretionary spending.

University leaders said they will also begin to increase the payout rate of the school's endowment.

"Our approach is guided by a commitment to protect the academic excellence that this community has built up over 169 years and to prioritize the well-being of our people," the letter stated.

For more information visit: www.northwestern.edu.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.