Hiring freeze to ensure safe financial standing

Kathryn Drew

With the increasingly grim economic outlook, the Villanova administration has found itself employing more and more prudent measures in order to keep the University in good financial standing.

Most recently, the administration has implemented a hiring freeze, which is effective immediately. The University will not be hiring for new positions nor will it be looking to fill vacant positions.

In the past few months, the economy has worsened and unemployment has soared above 8 percent. The University has decided that in order to maintain fiscal responsibility there will be no additions to the faculty or staff for an indefinite period of time. The duration of this new measure will depend on the general economic outlook.

“As economic circumstances change, the administration will reevaluate, and we can expect changes in accordance with economic indicators,” said Ken Valosky, vice president for Administration and Finance.

While the University has been affected by the economic crisis, suffering a 25 percent decline in the endowment, Villanova remains financially stable. Villanova is largely a tuition-based institution, making the endowment of less importance to general operating expenses.

However, the administration feels that the University cannot continue business as usual in light of the current economic times. It has been determined that a proactive approach is necessary to ensure that the University continues to be in good financial standing.

“We are in a good place right now, and we need to stay in that place,” said University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A.

The hiring freeze has been put into place as a preventative measure.

“We decided that while the University remains on firm financial footing, we want to maintain as much flexibility as possible going forward,” Valosky said.

The administration believes it is important to look out for the interests of the students, their families and the current faculty and staff.

The general sense of economic uncertainty demands that institutions, like Villanova, be especially careful.

“We don’t want to make a decision today that lessens our ability to face challenges in the future,” Valosky said.

While Villanova is financially on solid ground, continuing to hire would be fiscally irresponsible and could prevent Villanova from having any kind of flexibility in the future.

The hiring freeze has been implemented with the intent to help ensure employees that the administration is taking care of them. The freeze is largely about keeping layoffs off the table.

The administration wants to make sure that the University continues to provide the same educational experience that people have come to expect from Villanova.

“Where they have made a commitment to the University, the University is now making a commitment to our faculty and staff,” Valosky said.

Also, it is important for the University to have resources available to help students who have increased financial difficulties as a result of the turbulent economic times.

“I want to be able to respond to the needs of the people,” Donohue said.

In addition to the hiring freeze, there will be no salary increases through 2010.

This is also a preventative measure to ensure that the University maintains the funds required to meet the needs of its community and face any challenges that may arise.

In order to address the needs of the lower paid staff, employees with salaries of $60,000 or less will receive a one-time supplement of $1,500 in June of this year.

While the administration must increase tuition for the upcoming year due to costs, the increase will be the smallest in over 30 years, at just 3.5 percent.

There will be a 9 percent increase in financial aid funds in order to mollify the effects this crisis has had on students’ families.

These decisions were made in stages, and the administration feels they are in the best interest of the Villanova community as a whole.

The University also plans to review operating expenses.