- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri in Columbia expects to cut 400 positions amid enrollment drops and cuts in state funding.

Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes spoke about the cuts with faculty, students and staff at a campus forum Monday. Stokes said at least half of the positions to be cut are currently empty. Many of the remaining positions will be eliminated through retirements and not renewing contracts, the Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2qrRhJQ ) reported.

“About 80 to 100 are layoffs, but we won’t have the final numbers until June,” university spokesman Christian Basi said.

The discussion came after university officials announced last week that 12 percent - amounting to roughly $55 million - would be slashed from the budget in fiscal year 2018. The cuts will affect all schools, colleges and divisions on the Columbia campus.

The Missouri Legislature passed a budget in early May with a nearly 6.6 percent decrease in core funding for universities statewide. All University of Missouri System campuses - in Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis and Rolla - have to cut spending for fiscal 2018.

The University of Missouri in Columbia has also announced an expected 14 percent decline in incoming freshman for the upcoming school year.

Stokes said Monday that the enrollment drop would result in about $16.6 million in lost revenue. The university expects to get back about $7 million of that revenue with a proposed 2.1 percent tuition increase.

Stokes is holding a second forum on Tuesday at the Columbia campus.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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