UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ)– Penn State University announced on Monday that it is implementing a hiring freeze in order to help balance its budget.
The “temporary strategic hiring freeze” is expected to last until at least summer 2023, according to a release. The university said they are looking to save $250 million by summer 2025 and the hiring freeze is one way this would be possible.
In an email obtained by WTAJ, Penn State said “this is not a complete freeze on all hiring” and the university is still hiring for “critical positions,” which “include those that are necessary for safety, student success, compliance, or show a financial return on investment.” In order for a position to be determined as “critical” it must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate member of President’s Council before being posted.
In addition to the hiring freeze, Penn State also instituted a 3% budget rescission for the 2022-23 fiscal year with hopes that will save the university about $46.2 million.
Penn State said, “all units and positions regardless of funding source will participate in the strategic hiring freeze, except for positions that are fully funded by external research grants or contracts.”
One Penn State athletics employee said, “It will be interesting to see if we’ll have enough staff. I know that’s always a concern… ‘Do you have enough support for your students?’.”
The employee said they have several positions open; however, some of these positions are linked to student success and therefore would be an exception.
“We work with people that are coming from all over the world,” the employee said. “Without us, they might be a little lost.”
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Graduate students with assistantships and positions that are fully funded by external grants or contracts are not affected by the temporary freeze, Penn State said.
Jonathan Light, president of Teamsters Local 8, the union that represents technical service workers at Penn State, said he hopes their positions will be considered “critical.”
“The work has to be done,” said Light. “There’s food service, housing, janitorial. So, it’s not one of those things that you can neglect to do.”
If a hiring manager with an open position believes it is critical, Penn State said they will need to discuss their department needs and budget with human resources.