Clark Atlanta Cuts Jobs Due to Lower Enrollment - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

Clark Atlanta Cuts Jobs Due to Lower Enrollment

Email




by Dionne Walker, Associated Press

ATLANTA – Clark Atlanta University cut about 100 workers Friday, with officials at the historically Black college blaming slipping enrollment as cash-strapped students sit out the spring semester.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Jiles said 70 faculty members and up to 40 staff learned from supervisors that Friday would be their last work day. No more cuts are expected.

It was the first round of such layoffs since 2003, according to school spokesman Larry Calhoun.

Jiles insisted the 4,200-student-plus college – the largest of the United Negro College Fund institutions – was not in any financial distress.

“There is absolutely no financial emergency, and the university is not in a cash marginal institution,” Jiles told the Associated Press on Friday.

On campus, students expressed confusion over the sudden decision but trust in the administration.

“To make this situation better, the people in control needed to prevent any financial loss in the long run of the institution,” said sophomore political science major Maurice Simpson, 19, of Maryland.

The decision to make cuts came as college administrators have been trying to align faculty numbers with dwindling student numbers, but the problem has been compounded by the nation’s economic recession, according to a university statement.

The school is still determining just how many students have been shed; administrators recognized a sharp downward trend late last year, Jiles said.

“We were getting some indication by mid-fall, and certainly by December, that we would have a number of students that would not be returning for the spring semester,” Jiles said, explaining that students expressed difficulty getting loans.

  Study Urges Tough Measures for Parent PLUS Loan Requirements

Such loans – as well as savings often stashed by mindful parents years before students arrive on campus – are the bread and butter of nearly all college students.

But they often have a special significance at the nation’s network of more than 100 historically Black schools. Sprinkled mostly across the South, these schools often draw from Blacks who cannot afford other schools.

Jiles estimated 98 percent of Clark Atlanta’s students get financial aid.

For them, even the tiniest cut to loans can hit hard, explained 2004 alumni Kevin Cottrell Jr.

“The only way I was able to go was through a scholarship and financial aid,” said Cottrell, of Atlanta. “Most of the time, we are first-generation college students.”

The layoffs came as a shock to Clark Atlanta’s tight-knit community, a network that includes many Black Atlanta professionals who still live and work near the school, which was created when Clark College merged with Atlanta University in 1988.

“It comes as a surprise, but I’m sure it’s gonna be a lot of impact,” said 2004 graduate Winfield Essel, of Norcross.

He recalled similar strain during his years at the school.

“They were almost about to go through the same situation as Morris Brown went through,” he said. “But they kind of recovered.”

Morris Brown, next door to Clark Atlanta, is still recovering after a 2002 embezzlement scheme rocked the campus.

Clark Atlanta faced its own $25 million deficit when it installed a new president, Carlton Brown, last year.

Clark Atlanta’s second president, Walter Broadnax, stepped down amid massive debt and controversial cuts to several programs.

  State Report Finds Coppin State in Need of Administrative and Programmatic Overhaul

Brown has made fundraising a priority. Friday, the school encouraged alumni to donate, particularly to a special fund created to support students.

But Essel said gifts would be slow coming from people holding on to cash in a tight economy.

“A lot of people probably are scared to send money,” he said, adding that some students may have been unhappy with decisions made by Clark Atlanta’s administration and are not rushing to help.

Email the editor: editor@diverseeducation.com

Click here to post and read comments



© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Maryland Bans Scholarship Displacement The state of Maryland passed a bill on July 1 that bans scholarship displacement at public colleges, making it the first state in the country to do so. Many are unaware of the practice of scholarship displacement — when an institution reduces the ...
College Access Group Sees Surge in FAFSA Applications The percentage of high school seniors who by June 30 had filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — better known as the FAFSA — reached a new high level this year after several years of decline, according to new data compiled by the Nationa...
U. of Michigan Implementing Free Tuition Program for Some In-state Students The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus has implemented a free tuition program, called “Go Blue Guarantee,” for in-state students and applicants with families earning up to $65,000 a year. Dr. Mark Schlissel is president of the University of...
Lawsuits Rain on DeVos Over Delayed Student Loan Protections Two advocacy groups and 19 state attorneys general slammed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with separate lawsuits Thursday that seek to force DeVos to scrap plans to delay enforcement of an Obama era rule meant to protect student loan borrowe...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *