State Colleges and Universities to Cut Costs by Decreasing Employee Benefits

Posted: 10/22/2021 16:47:33 PM

In a move to cut costs, the New Hampshire university system plans to reduce its pension contributions and cut benefits for many of its full-time employees.

The system seeks to reduce system-wide spending by $ 17 million, or approximately $ 3,800 per employee by fiscal 2023. The initiative began in 2018, focusing on “marginal sustainability.”

Recently, the USNH reduced the value of its medical plan through design changes and committed to a USNH grant cap of 3%, resulting in a larger individual contribution for staff and faculty.

James McGrail, director of human resources at USNH, notes that the system seeks to align more with the spending of its higher education peers.

“We still have a long way to go to reach our peers,” said McGrail.

The USNH plans to reduce its retirement equivalent to 8%, down from 10% previously. The system also plans to remove dental coverage for employees, opting instead for a 100% employee contribution, making the health insurance option.

“The teachers’ unions have not moved on to the new plan, we have delayed the game for the non-unionized until next year,” said McGrail.

The USNH began to merge with the Community College System of New Hampshire, joining other New England states such as Vermont and Maine to create a unified system. Governor Chris Sununu announced the change in February.

“This is the future of higher education,” Sununu said. “This development will not benefit any particular system or college, but all students in the state.”

Universities and colleges in the state have been successful in reducing operating costs across the board through layoffs and other cost saving measures. According to the data provided by the system, all four presidents have achieved their current savings targets.

USNH has seen funding cuts from all angles, most notably in New Hampshire, which contributes the least in the country to public education. As a result, tuition fees and student debt remain high in Granite State.

The University of New Hampshire, the state’s flagship campus, has seen a growing deficit and declining freshman classes.

To combat rising costs, USNH also rolled out the Enhanced COVID Retirement Program to serve as a buyout for veteran employees. For the UNH, 291 employees took advantage, with a targeted net savings of $ 21 million on payroll.

Delaying this game has an impact of $ 2 million on the system, which has remained in the red for years.

Despite this, the University of New Hampshire was ranked # 1 for value among New England public institutions, according to US News & World Report.

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