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Penn State institutes hiring freeze until at least summer 2023

Matt Rourke

Penn State has instituted a strategic hiring freeze that will last at least until next summer, university administrators announced in a press release Monday.

The university's formal announcement of the freeze followed reporting by WPSU and other outlets regarding an email sent by the PSU's president last week.

The hiring freeze began Monday and, according to the initial email obtained by WPSU, was not intended to be announced by the university through any mass communications or a Penn State news story. Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi shared the decision on Thursday with the President’s Council, the Academic Leadership Council, Faculty Senate Leadership, Staff Advisory Council Leadership and Financial Officers.

The university says it must save $250 million to have a balanced budget by summer 2025. This freeze is on top of a 3% budget rescission that was previously announced for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

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“A variety of factors have contributed to the University’s current financial situation, including significant inflation, flat state funding for a third consecutive year, tuition freezes in three of the last four years, and enrollment and revenue pressures at least partially due to the pandemic,” according to the email.

The hiring freeze includes both new positions and filling open positions where an offer hasn’t been made yet. It does not include graduate assistantships or positions that are funded through external research grants or contracts.

Some positions that are deemed critical by leadership will be filled. These include jobs that are “necessary for safety, student success, compliance, or show a financial return on investment.”

In addition to cuts, Penn State says it is focusing on increasing revenue.

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.