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Jun 11, 2014 04:30 PM EDT

Suffolk University Freezes Salaries for a Year Due to Drop in Revenue, Dip in Enrollment

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Suffolk University in Massachusetts announced that it is freezing salaries for the next fiscal year, the Boston Globe reported.

The private institution, which is facing a $11 million drop in budgeted revenue and a dip in enrollment, is seeking to contain costs while stepping up efforts to recruit students.

The school's Board of Trustees approved the budget for the next fiscal year in May. The budget begins July 1.

"We continue to build for the future; therefore this budget was created with an emphasis on investing in our students while containing costs to minimize tuition increases," university President James McCarthy wrote in a message to employees last week according to the Boston Globe.

The new budget is expected to address a "challenging enrollment environment," as school officials expect a smaller-than-anticipated law school class, a decline in the ranks of new graduates, and flat graduate enrollment, the Boston Globe reported.

McCarthy also cited a $743,000 increase in the university's contribution to employee health insurance costs as a reason for the salary freeze.

"With these challenges it became clear that we are not in a position to offer employee salary increases for the 2014-2015 year if we are to deliver a fully balanced budget," he wrote. "While I realize that this decision will be unpopular, please understand that we are committed to future salary increases, and that remains a top priority."

Greg Gatlin, spokesman for Suffolk University, told the Boston Globe the budget reflects that financial challenges many private colleges have faced since the recession.

"There's no question that for tuition-driven universities, like Suffolk and many, many others, it's a difficult climate, and one where keeping costs as low as possible is critical. That's something we're completely focused on," he said.

Terry Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., told the Boston Globe that many private universities are under pressure to maintain enrollment. It is not uncommon for colleges to turn to pay or hiring freezes in response to financial problems.

"These are usually short-term measures," he said. "Suffolk is obviously in a rough patch. But the good news is they recognize it."

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