‘This is not an easy time for any of us’: EWU faces $3.6 million budget shortfall

‘This is not an easy time for any of us’: EWU faces $3.6 million budget shortfall
Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University is facing a $3.6 million budget shortfall, according to an email sent out to employees Monday by University President Mary Cullinan and Board of Trustees members Uriel Iniguez and Vicki Wilson.

In the email sent out Monday morning, Cullinan, Iniguez and Wilson told employees decreased state funding and low tuition rates created the budget gap, which is unsustainable for Eastern.

“To be financially responsible, we cannot continue to spend down reserves to address short-term financial problems,” the email reads. “If we don’t begin to reshape the institution now, we will be forced to make deeper, non-strategic cuts in the future.”

Cullinan said the university is exploring a variety of options, which could potentially include restructuring colleges and departments, and increasing fundraising revenue to address the shortfall. She mentioned EWU’s fundraising has doubled in the last year, but said that money “will not support ongoing university expenses.”

“We must cut costs, and that work involves difficult decisions affecting all of us,” the email reads. “Salaries are the lion’s share of our costs. We can’t meet our target for reduced expenses without affecting people,” the email read.

Cullinan released the following statement Tuesday to KXLY 4 News.

The email distributed to EWU employees on Monday outlines our current budget situation and how the university is addressing a challenging fiscal environment by reducing costs as well as increasing revenue. As part of this extensive process, the university is exploring creative ways to restructure colleges and academic departments to serve students more effectively and meet the changing demands of the region.

This is an ongoing process that has involved the whole university community since last fall. Of course, we cannot discuss personnel issues; however, as we prepare budgets for the next fiscal year (beginning July 1), we are identifying ways to reduce costs with minimal impact on students, faculty, and staff.

The budget work we’re doing is helping the university be positioned effectively to serve this region for many decades to come.

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