Lynchburg Budget Cuts Eliminate 17 Academic Programs

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Front view of Carnegie Hall at University of Lynchburg. Photo courtesy Timothy Erskine via Wikimedia Commons.

The University of Lynchburg (UL) in Virginia announced large-scale budget cuts last week that include the closure of 12 undergraduate and 5 graduate level programs of study. 

The three primary factors considered in the closure decisions were financial sustainability, market trends, and enrollment trends. The announcement comes in the wake of an almost 15% enrollment decline for the institution over the last ten years. Other measures include the elimination of 40 faculty positions, 40 additional staff positions, 25 academic minors, and several Master of Education tracks. 

University president Alison Morrison-Shetlar said in a video statement released May 29th, “Lynchburg is not in a crisis, but we are at a crossroads…Other schools are cutting programs, and, for the sake of our future, we must too. But we are going a step further. For the sake of our people — our students, faculty, and staff — we are restructuring our entire university around them.”

This restructuring will impact 4.5% of UL’s student body. While the university currently offers 51 majors, they found that 95% of their students studied just 21 majors. 

According to the university, many of the job reductions will be managed through retirements and reassignments over the course of several years, and the number of vice presidents, currently nine, will be reduced to five as departments merge. 

Some of the programs coming to an end are religious studies, diversity strategies, community and nonprofit leadership, special education, theater, and physics. Students who are currently enrolled in those programs being dissolved will be permitted to complete their degrees.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “I want to thank each and every one of you for all you have given to make this institution a home for the tens of thousands who proudly call themselves a Hornet.”