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Harding University to permanently lay off 15-20 employees

by Emily Walkenhorst | May 5, 2020 at 5:44 p.m.
Harding University's campus is shown in this 2019 file photo.

Harding University plans to permanently lay off 15-20 employees by next Thursday, a university spokeswoman said.

The largest private college in Arkansas has lost millions of dollars in expected revenue this spring because of event cancellations and repayments to students for unused room and board. Those repayments totaled $3 million, Vice President for University Communications and Enrollment Jana Rucker wrote in an email to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

But the university’s declining enrollment and the expected long-term decrease in enrollment in higher education also factored into the permanent workforce reduction, Rucker said.

Since 2015, the university’s enrollment has declined about 20%, from about 6,000 students to 4,800 students, according to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education.

Rucker did not identify the types of positions to be eliminated, including whether they were only staff or included faculty.

No decision has been made on whether to reopen the university for face-to-face instruction next academic year. A task force is evaluating reopening campus, Rucker said.

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