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May 02, 2014 01:26 PM EDT

University Of Scranton To Make 'Difficult' Cuts Due To Rising Costs

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The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania plans on making cuts of $4 million due to rising costs and a smaller than expected freshman class, The Times-Tribune reported.

School officials announced Wednesday that they will be making some "difficult, even painful, decisions" for the college and will take a long-term strategic look at the budget. The cuts involve some layoffs, and eliminating positions.

Employees who were laid off will receive a "separation package" and have access to career and transition counseling.

"I am grateful to these individuals for their service and ask that we all support them and one another as we move forward," President Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. wrote in a letter sent to school faculty, staff and students, according to The Times-Tribune.

School officials said this move was better than a tuition increase. They knew families of the student who attend the college could not afford a large tuition hike, Edward Steinmetz, senior vice president for finance and administration, told The Times-Tribune.

The school's tuition for 2014-2015 has been increased by 3 percent to $39,556 - the lowest percentage since the 1970s. Room and board for that school year options will average about $13,000, making the total cost for students at least $52,500.

At the same time, the college's financial aid budget will increase by 5.6 percent "and now represents 28 percent of the university's total $213 million budget," The Times-Tribune reported.

"As a result, we will see a decrease in net tuition and fee revenue per student for the class we recruit for this fall when compared to the class that preceded it," Rev. Quinn wrote said.

He said the school will continue a strategic financial review process and strengthen its financial position.

"Despite these pressures and challenges, I remain confident that our efforts and our ever-present ingenuity will allow the University of Scranton to continue to thrive as we live out our mission to provide a transformative education that is engaged, integrated and global," Rev. Quinn said.

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