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Penn State branch campuses to offer faculty, staff buyouts

Penn State University is offering eligible faculty, staff and administrators at its 20 Commonwealth campuses the opportunity to leave their jobs for a lump sum and benefits.

The move comes as Pennsylvania’s flagship public university struggles to reduce a multimillion-dollar budget deficit. A number of its Commonwealth campuses, notably those in western Pennsylvania, have suffered sharp enrollment declines in recent years.

The Voluntary Separation Incentive Program – for which registration is open until May 31 – will provide a financial incentive to eligible faculty and staff on campuses across the Commonwealth who wish to retire or pursue employment outside of Penn State, officials said Wednesday.

Eligible individuals are entitled “to a lump sum payment equal to 12 months of their base salary, less applicable withholdings and deductions,” according to the Penn State website.

Those who can participate include non-union employees hired for a full-time position before April 1, 2023 and who are not contract workers.

The university has not said whether it has a target number of employees it hopes it will choose to let go.

The program is not expected to be used at University Park, law schools or the School of Medicine, although officials said the decision could be reevaluated.

“In the face of challenges facing all of higher education, our entire institution must evolve to continue serving Pennsylvania residents,” said Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi. “We are currently working to identify all opportunities to strengthen our Commonwealth campuses and meet our budget goals.

“As always, our mission of teaching, research and service to the Commonwealth remains at the very heart of all decision-making,” Bendapudi added.

Penn State branches, like other regional campus systems, experienced losses as high school graduation and birth rates declined.

“We are working collectively with all of our Commonwealth campuses and exploring opportunities for each campus to focus on distinct areas of excellence, align each offering with student needs and reduce expenses,” said Margo DelliCarpini, Vice President of the Commonwealth. Campus.

Involuntary layoffs and non-renewals may occur in the future and could include individuals eligible for this program, officials said. The benefits of the voluntary separation incentive program in these cases, officials said.

Bill Schackner is a TribLive reporter covering higher education. Raised in New England, he joined the Trib in 2022 after 29 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team. Previously, he wrote for newspapers in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. He can be contacted at [email protected].