Published: 16:38, 20 July 2020
| Updated: 16:47, 20 July 2020
Almost 150 full-time jobs are set to be axed by the University Kent after it was revealed its deficit has risen to £60 million.
Bosses from the cash-strapped institution say they plan to reduce staffing costs by almost 3% by April 2024, as part of a shake-up aimed at securing its future.
They blame its financial woes on a fall in its intake in the face of growing competition for students, increased pension liabilities and the government's decision not to increase undergraduate fees in line with inflation.
A statement from the university says: "Like many other UK universities, we are currently in a challenging environment, one in which our income does not meet our costs.
"This has led to a £60million deficit, £45m of which results from the need to make significant provision on our balance sheet for future pension liabilities.
"The University Council has approved plans to reduce our staff costs from 59.5% to 56.9% by 2023/24.
"In this financial year, this relates to the reduction of approximately 148 full-time equivalent roles."
The university says it will be offering voluntary severance schemes - but it will not rule out making compulsory redundancies at this stage.
This comes after it was announced last month that staff are facing a year-long pay freeze - with vice-chancellor Professor Karen Cox agreeing to slash her own salary by 20%, from £277,000 to £221,600.
Ms Cox said at the time that the university had been working on a new reward strategy, intended to provide increased consistency around pay.
It also includes changes to pay progression, which branch officers at its University College Union say will in many cases "reduce future pay" for staff.
The statement continues: "To help us recover from this deficit and prepare the university for a return to higher student numbers, we have put a number of plans in action.
"These include prioritising income growth, adjusting the shape and size of the university, including how and where our academic offer is delivered, and making savings while continuing to invest in areas of strategic importance that will be vital to our future success, such as student recruitment."