NNU President David Alexander

Northwest Nazrene President David Alexander. 

NAMPA — The Northwest Nazarene University administration will shift $1.3 million in its 2015-2016 budget, despite the school’s increase in enrollment numbers.

University President David Alexander said NNU wants to “strengthen its financial position.”

To do that, $400,000 will be used for employee raises and benefits, $500,000 will go to cash reserves to use for deferred maintenance and another $400,000 will be used for resources to start new programs.

With the cuts came six employee layoffs. Four staff members and two faculty members were laid off. The school has a current total of 310 employees.

Alexander did not release the names of the employees who were laid off, but the two faculty members came from the graduate counseling program and the graduate theology program. Alexander said those programs have seen a decrease in enrollment.

The faculty members who were laid off were notified March 31 but will complete their responsibilities through the rest of the school year, Alexander said.

Other budgeting cuts included a 5 percent decrease in university travel, closing an office leased by NNU in Twin Falls and holding the line on spending, he said.

About 70 people attended an internal meeting at NNU’s Helstrom Business Center on Tuesday to discuss the budget changes.

The school did have its largest spring enrollment in its history this year. Student enrollment was at 1,987 — 60 more people than NNU had enrolled at the same time last year.

Nursing is the most popular program and STEM fields — meaning science, technology, engineering and math — are also common. Education, business and religion are other standard programs with high enrollment numbers, Alexander said.

Two Facebook pages and a Twitter account were recently created in support and defense of Thomas Oord, a theologian and professor at NNU who was apparently one faculty member selected in the layoffs.

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