DULUTH - The University of Minnesota Duluth announced $2.5 million in potential program and staff cuts Monday.
“It's going to be a loss for students,” said UMD student body president, Kimberly Newton. “I do think we're going to find ways to incorporate those losses.”
Leaders at UMD have proposed to cut 61 staff and faculty members because of major budget issues.
Chancellor Lendley Black said deciding what to cut isn't easy, but with an $11.9 million deficit, tough choices have to be made.
It was standing room only at the Kirby Ballroom, as the chancellor and his staff addressed questions from students, staff, and faculty on the proposed program prioritization.
The program is a strategy the university used to prioritize what it really needs, and where it could consolidate to save money.
“We're looking at new efficiencies,” said Chancellor Black. “We’re looking at doing things differently so that we can be more effective and make better use of our resources.”
One of the proposed changes for students is cutting free bus rides.
Currently, UMD students ride the city bus for free.
To bring in more money, the university is considering charging students who use the bus $10 a semester.
“I think adding a smaller fee for every student is beneficial,” explained Newton. “I think a lot of students do use it once or twice at some point, if not every day.”
The big question: why is the university so in debt?
According to UMD officials, the campus has seen a steep drop in student enrollment.
Also, instead of making cuts when they needed to, they used their reserve money and now they're falling into the red.
All the cuts and changes are just proposed and nothing is set in stone.
The chancellor is asking for comments from students, staff, faculty, and alumni until March 6.
After that, campus officials will travel to Minneapolis and propose their final budget to the University of Minnesota president.
To contact the chancellor and make a comment, click here.