MEQUON, Wis. — The future of another private university in Wisconsin is in flux, as financial deficits cause upcoming layoffs. Concordia University announced cuts to staff and faculty are imminent at both its Mequon, Wis., and Ann Arbor, Michigan campuses.  

This comes after a recent analysis of Concordia’s financial health showed significant budget deficits on both campuses.

What You Need To Know

  • Concordia University announced cuts to staff and faculty

  • Mequon and Ann Arbor campuses will have layoffs

  • Leadership would not comment on how many layoffs, to whom or when

  • A financial analyis of both campuses showed significant budget deficits

Concordia’s noard of regents chair, John Berg made the announcement via a video statement Friday.

He added that the budget deficit is more significant at the Michigan-based campus, though he said it would remain operational through next school year. Ann Arbor merged with Mequon in 2013, three years after the Michigan campus nearly closed, according to a release by Concordia’s communications director. 

“It’s difficult when enrollment declines and sometimes, institutions don’t make the kinds of cuts they need to make as enrollment declines,” said Eric Fulcomer, president of Wisconsin Association for Independent Colleges and Universities. “We’ll continue to see institutions examine their revenues and their expenses and make decisions about operational changes that are necessary.”

Berg said there is discussion about making Ann Arbor its own separate school.  

Concordia would not comment on how many layoffs are anticipated and to whom. The university also would not comment about a timeline for these layoffs to go into effect.  

Campus leaders did not make themselves available for interviews Friday.    

“I think it’s going to continue to be a challenging time although, our overall enrollment from fall 2022 to fall 2023 was flat, after some difficult years from COVID where we saw declines,” Fulcomer said. “The new student numbers were up across the sector, not for every institution but across the sector.”

Concordia is at least the fifth private college in the state to recently go through a budget deficit and layoffs. Cardinal Stritch announced its permanent closure last spring. St. Norbert, Lakeland University and Marian University made layoffs to begin this school year.

“Another thing with Concordia and St. Norbert is, those are examples of a new president coming in,” Fulcomer said. “Taking a fresh look at the budget, what the enrollment decline has been, what the budget deficit has been and making hard decisions about how to make sure the institutions is sustained.”

Fulcomer said he doesn’t have any knowledge of any institutions that are planning to close in Wisconsin.      

Concordia said it is in the process of forming a subcommittee to lay out a timeline for when these layoffs will take place. It is being formed within the next week, which is also the college’s spring break.  

Spectrum News anticipates more information in the next week, or two.