The University of Montana’s budget woes are no secret in the local community, but just how the institution can claw back into the black is a difficult problem that will likely require raising tuition and cutting staff or services. According to Montana University System Deputy Commissioner for Communications Kevin McRae, the UM is spending more than most institutions on staff.

"The University of Montana's percentage of expenditures on faculty staff, administrative, professional employee salaries and wages is comparatively high compared to other institutions. The University of Montana's expenditures are over 80 percent on wages, salaries and so forth. To compare, other institutions would normally be closer to 70 percent.

The University of Montana is currently surveying, attempting to find staff members who might consider a retirement buyout package. According to McRae, nearly 400 staff have been identified as retirement eligible and anywhere between 80 and 100 could be offered a buyout package.

"Instead of eliminating a position and having to let go of a junior faculty member. The retirement incentive program would allow us to then make an offer to someone who has been thinking about retiring in the foreseeable future, it would be an incentive to that person, they could retire as they want to do and the junior faculty member then stays in that department and devotes a great career to the students of the University of Montana."

The process is under consideration now, buyout offers will likely be made over the course of the next year, with staffing changes expected in spring of 2018.

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