Cuts in state funding are prompting Northern Arizona University to lay off staff and close four satellite campuses around the state.
University officials said Thursday they are laying off 45 people mainly in the distance learning and enrollment departments.
NAU President John Haeger, in a statement, said additional layoffs are likely.
“We have been working hard to minimize the number of layoffs, but we cannot escape the reality that 83 percent of our budget goes to salaries and benefits,” he said. “We have weighed our decisions carefully to cope with a severely constricted budget while protecting our core mission of undergraduate education.”
The university has about 3,560 faculty and staff at its Flagstaff campus and throughout the state.
The layoffs come as the three state universities – NAU, Arizona State University and University of Arizona – are trying to balance their budgets after the state Legislature cut their funding by $141 million this year. NAU lost about 13 percent of its state funding, or $21 million.
The university will close four satellite sites in Nogales, Payson, Globe and Holbrook, and an office in Avondale. No employees will lose their jobs at those locations, but savings in operating costs will be about $140,000 a year.
The cuts are happening at the same time that NAU, the smallest of the three state universities, is experiencing record enrollment, with 22,507 students.
NAU officials hinted last month that layoffs were coming.
In a February announcement to the staff, Haeger said he tried to avoid negatively impacting an already lean work force, but “the increasingly dire projections about the university budget mean that furloughs and layoffs are inevitable.”
Flagstaff’s unemployment rate has increased in recent months but is below the state’s 7.4 percent rate. The Flagstaff area had a 6.3 percent jobless rate in February, up from 4.2 percent a year ago.