The University of Groningen (RUG) is facing a number of financial issues.
Fewer student applications, a rise in energy costs, and a disappointing amount of government funds received for the academic year have all compiled to create a concerned atmosphere for those in charge, according to the University’s own news site UKrant.
“There have been a number of setbacks at the university, and they’ve all come at the same time,” Jouke de Vries, the chairperson of the executive board at the RUG, told UKrant.
These issues have already been affecting the university to some capacity. The Faculty of Science and Engineering announced a hiring freeze, meaning they are not open to hiring new employees. Current positions that are vacated will not necessarily be refilled.
45 jobs to be cut from Law Faculty – report
The RUG will also be cutting 45 full-time positions from its Faculty of Law over the coming years, RTV Noord reported on Monday.
This year the faculty is heading for a deficit of €2 million which is expected to rise to €9 million by 2027 – a stark difference from the faculty’s 2022 €1 million in profits. Fewer students and rising personnel costs contributed to the deficit.
The RUG will be shrinking in size in the coming years as fewer students are expected to study in Groningen. This would result in less income from tuition fees for the university, according to RTV Noord.
9% increase in staff salaries
As of August 1, universities and trade unions agreed to a new collective agreement. The deal sees university staff earn up to a 9% increase in their wages. Those who earn minimum wage are also entitled to a one-off payment worth up to €1,200.
The new agreement is estimated to cost the RUG around €44 million, although approximately half of the amount will be compensated by the government.
“We’ll need to find the rest somewhere else. The future is not looking bright right now. ” De Vries told UKrant.
Unfair to blame wage increases – union
The FNV trade union told the UKrant that the RUG is being unfair when it blames the wage increases as one of the reasons for its dire financial straits. The FNV said that the RUG had a say in the salary negotiations and ultimately agreed to them.
“If the RUG genuinely thinks the collective agreement is to blame for their financial troubles, they could have communicated this to their negotiators (UNL) before reaching an agreement”, the union told the UKrant.
Back in February it was reported that the University of Groningen Executive Board will implement a package of austerity measures to close a budget deficit caused primarily by high energy prices.