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Drop in enrollment prompts layoffs at UB

The University of Baltimore is eliminating 26 positions — 12 of them vacant — in the coming year, citing decreased enrollment including a drop in law school applications.

That drop is consistent with national trends in recent years, the university announced Monday.

University officials reduced the school’s base operating budget for 2017 to compensate for the declining enrollment. Some of that reduction was absorbed by trying to make the school’s academic and administrative departments more efficient, but personnel reductions were needed as well, according to a statement from the university.

The institutions was facing a $3.9 million budget shortfall and was able to close about $1.45 million of that gap by eliminating the positions, said Chris Hart, a university spokesman.

Layoffs and eliminations were made in departments throughout the institution; the bulk of the cuts came from administrative, rather than faculty, positions, but Hart could not provide a detailed breakdown.

While UB regrets the impact these difficult decisions will have on valued employees, the changes should provide the institutions with “continued financial stability” and the ability for some growth in the coming years, according to the statement from the university.

Overall enrollment at UB has dropped from 6,569 in the fall of 2012 to 6,238 in the fall of 2015, according to data provided by the university.

Applications to the UB School of Law have dropped about 13 percent in the past two years, going from 1,352 in 2013 to 1,170 in 2015; the total number of law students has dropped about 20 percent from 1,086 in 2013 to 864 in 2015, according to annual reports filed with the American Bar Association.

Tuition at UB’s law school has increased over those two years from $26,884 to $29,184 for full-time Maryland residents and from $39,538 to $43,002 for full-time non-residents, according to the reports.

Total enrollment in the 204 schools offering Juris Doctor, or J.D., degrees across the country dropped from 119,775 in fall 2014 to 113,900 in fall 2015. About 53 percent of those schools reported smaller first-year classes than in the previous year, beginning last fall, according to the ABA.