Xavier University plans layoffs, freeze on salaries

New Orleans, La.- Xavier University is implementing a freeze on salaries and new hires as it grapples with a $5 million operating deficit.

The New Orleans university is also planning layoffs, but says teachers will not be impacted.  In another cost-cutting move, Xavier is planning a 10 percent cut in the university's contributions to employees' health-insurance premiums.

Xavier officials say the measures are due to a drop in student enrollment, down 6.5 percent for the fall semester.

The layoffs and freezes began Nov. 26, and the cut in Xavier's contribution to employees' premiums is to begin Jan. 1.

Xavier doesn't have a firm number on the amount of jobs being lost, but officials say no teachers will be affected at this point because they are under contract through the spring semester.

The university may also consider eliminating some programs,  with less popular majors being more likely to face the ax.

In addition to the cuts, the university announced a mandatory closing from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 to save on utilities.

This fall's enrollment was 3,178 - 221 below last fall's figure - and well below the 3,300 to 3,400 students who were expected.