Hampshire College cuts staff benefits citing financial problems
Jun 2024

Hampshire College cuts staff benefits citing financial problems

By Kirk Carapezza

Hampshire College in Amherst announced cuts to staff benefits Monday, just months after the school’s leaders said it had recovered from enrollment and financial problems.

Five years ago, Hampshire’s money problems forced it to consider either a merger or a potential closure. And that was before the pandemic caused college enrollment to plummet.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and other alumni tried to stem the crisis by raising funds, which temporarily secured the college’s future.

Now the college is suspending staff retirement contributions and implementing a year-long pay cut for senior leadership, officials said.

The college said the measures are necessary due to slowing enrollment projections and federal delays processing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

“This FAFSA debacle is not without its consequences,” said Hampshire spokesperson Jennifer Chrisler, citing a botched rollout of a new FAFSA form intended to make filing for financial aid easier.

Chrisler said Hampshire is also giving raises to anyone who makes less than $100,000 and an extra week of paid vacation for all staff.

Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit that studies innovation in the education sector, said Hampshire is experiencing the same headwinds as other small colleges, but the problems are felt more acutely in a region with an oversupply of colleges catering to 18-22-year-olds.

Image Credit: David L. Ryan / Boston Globe via Getty Images,


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