UM weighs student interest to determine cuts


MISSOULA, Mont. - Low enrollment numbers at the University of Montana are projected to cause a $16 million budget deficit for next year.

University officials point to three factors contributing to low enrolment: fewer high school graduations across the state, more statewide and regional competition of colleges marketing to those who do graduate and the recent sexual assault publicity that made national news.

Administrators tell NBC Montana that they have some tough choices to make.

Academic departments are looking at ways to deal with budget cuts between 2 and 8 percent for the next fiscal year.

"We have fewer students on campus here this year, that means there is less demand for some classes," says UM Vice President of Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr. "There's less demand for meals in the food service, there may be less demand for dorm beds in the residence halls, so you look at that and you plan ahead. Similarly with classes."

The UM budget committee meets Thursday to discuss more specifics on which departments stand to lose the most.

Members of the faculty will hold a rally on campus to voice their concerns about a possible budget cut.