Concordia University latest to announce cuts amid fiscal challenges

From the Article:

Concordia University in suburban Milwaukee will likely cut staff in the face of “financial instability” according to a spokesperson for the university.

University President Erik Ankerberg sent an email to students and staff Feb. 13 saying the university’s campuses in Mequon and in Ann Arbor, Michigan must reduce costs to operate sustainably.

“Concordia University is taking these necessary steps to continue to fulfill its mission,” a statement from the university said.

According to the university, property, facilities and equipment on the campus in Michigan will likely be sold. The statement did not detail how many jobs would be cut.

Both universities are a part of the Concordia University System, a nationwide network of colleges and universities that are run independently but are all affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The two campuses merged in 2013 when Ann Arbor “could not obtain needed cash flow.”

Enrollment has grown on average over the last decade. The suburban Milwaukee campus enrolled 6,274 students during the 2022-23 school year, compared to 1,359 students in Ann Arbor. Since 2013, enrollment at the Michigan campus has more than doubled.

The announcement comes after university staff completed a financial review on Feb. 1. Concordia’s tax forms show the school has run a deficit in five of the last six years, ranging from $2 million to $6.3 million.

Benjamin Brenckle is a senior at Concordia University Wisconsin, studying music education. He said when he first heard the news, he was worried.

“I just kind of get concerned that because we don’t have as many people in the degree that we might lose the program or we might lose our staff,” Brenckle said.

Brenckle said his professors have assured him that the Wisconsin campus will not be hit as hard by cuts as the Michigan location.

The university has ambitious goals for its future. In a synopsis of the 2024-2028 strategic plan, the university aims to build enrollment to 8,500 students and increase donations to the university’s annual fund.

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