FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The potential for a $5.2 million budget shortfall will lead to cuts and layoffs at Fort Valley State University. The university will make $3.8 million dollars in immediate cuts in order to maintain a balanced budget for the fiscal year of 2013.
According to Fort Valley State University Vice President Canter Brown, lower enrollment, reduction in state funding and a troubled economy has left the school with serious budget issues. As a result, jobs are on the line. Brown said the Georgia Board of Regents has discouraged furloughs, so there will only be layoffs and salary cuts. The school will also cut back on landscaping, accounting services, plant operations and public safety. FVSU has submitted its recommendations to the Board of Regents and are waiting to hear back on how many jobs will be cut. Brown said the university is trying to protect its permanent faculty and school programs.
"All of academic programs, majors and minors will be protected," Brown said.
With state cuts and shortages in scholarships and financial aid, FVSU is struggling to support its students. This year's enrollment dropped by 400.
"The school's mission is to help kids who can't afford and we bend over backwards in our legal rights for our kids," said Brown.
Brown said this has contributed to the school's budget short falls.
"The students are generally from poor backgrounds either poor education backgrounds or poor economic backgrounds and are absolutely dependent on financial aid," Brown said.
When the school can't provide and support students, most of them are forced to leave.
"We simply don't have university sources that allow us to make up the difference," Brown said.
Kyshuna Grimes is a freshman at FVSU. The biology major says she tries to save money but the reality is college is expensive.
"Even with commuting, you have to pay for gas, books and financial aid may not cover all of that," Grimes said.
Junior Olamikunle Onikosi feels like the budget has affected extracurricular activities at FVSU. Onikosi has been working to start a soccer team at the school but believe its current financial situation has prevented it.
FVSU homecoming events kick off October 7. Brown says this year's homecoming schedule will not change but they are looking for ways to make up the difference in the future.