COVID-19 leads to budget cuts, layoffs for Kent State

Sara Crawford

Kent State University President Todd Diacon announced Monday that the university will make a 20% cut to its budget for the 2021 fiscal year that will include salary reductions for staff, along with layoffs and job abolishments. 

Beginning on July 1, university staff not represented by a union will see salary reductions based on income that include: 

  • Diacon – 12.5%

  • Cabinet, deans and those with salaries of $200,000 or more – 10%

  • $150,000 – $199,999 – 7%

  • $100,000 – $149,999 – 5%

  • $50,000 – $99,999 – 4%

  • $38,000 – $49,999 – 2%

  • Under $38,000 – No reduction

The number of layoffs and job eliminations will depend on the length and depth of the COVID-19 crisis, the press release stated. Currently, 70% of the university’s budget is made up of salaries and benefits.

In addition to the salary reductions, layoffs and job reductions, the university will also continue cost-saving measures it already took, including a hiring freeze, postponing any new construction projects, pausing any university-sponsored travel, limiting/eliminating spending on discretionary items and no overtime. Any funding that has been raised from canceled events will be retained and not spent. These measures will continue through the rest of the fiscal year.  

In an email to the university’s faculty and staff, Diacon said: “Now I must ask you for even greater sacrifices to guarantee the long-term strength of our great university. Even as we strive to take care of one another, we must also take care of the institution and its short- and long-term financial health.”  

Current employees who are not represented by AFSCME or AAUP can voluntarily separate from the university and would receive a buyout package that would include:  

  • Three months’ salary.

  • An additional three months of salary or $20,000 (whichever is less).

  • Retention of tuition waiver benefits for four years.

  • The option of continuing health care coverage for up to six months 

  • The employee would continue to pay their premium contribution.

  • Payout of current leave time according to university policies.

More information on the buyout terms is expected in early May. 

Find more about the university’s budget changes at

Contact Sara Crawford at [email protected]