- Associated Press - Monday, May 15, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri in Columbia is seeing the negative effects of budget cuts and declining enrollment.

The university is expecting its smallest incoming freshman class in nearly two decades this fall that could mark as much as a 6 percent decline compared to last year, the Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/2pOVJ3n) reported.

The decline in enrollment means less tuition revenue, which - combined with a nearly 7 percent reduction in state funding - has campus officials looking to cut expenses by 12 percent across the campus. For example, the Division of Operations, which aims to maintain cost-effective and efficient services and structure for the university, will eliminate 20 jobs on July 1.

Campus forums this week will include more details about how budget cuts will be implemented.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said the chamber will also hold a job fair in the near future to help university employees find other work.

“Our board of directors voted last month to work with the university as they figure out budget cuts, layoffs, things like that,” McCormick said.

Local landlords also are feeling the pinch. Some were offering gift cards of up to $1,000 or rent reductions to bring in renters before the semester ended last week.

“You just have to be aggressive and competitive in this market,” said Alexander Phillips, CEO of real estate agency TwinRock Partners. He said students are waiting before signing leases to check whether they can get a better deal somewhere else.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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