East Carolina University ECU sign

GREENVILLE — The interim chancellor of East Carolina University has imposed a hiring freeze because of a $16 million budget shortfall.

Interim chancellor Dan Gerlach announced the freeze Tuesday, according to media reports. He cited a drop in graduate school enrollment along with fewer first-year students and fewer transfer students coming in last fall than expected.

Gerlach said in his announcement that efforts continue to determine the extent of the university's financial issues.

Gerlach, who became interim chancellor May 6, has come up with a four-step plan to cut spending. The steps include no authorization of of new positions without approval of the university's executive council and freezing of vacant positions. The plan also says substantial capital projects not related to health and safety or enrollment growth may be postponed.

The Reflector of Greenville reported that ECU plans to cut spending by $16 million by the 2020-21 fiscal year. That amounts to a 3.2 percent reduction in the $496 million that ECU gets from tuition and state appropriations.

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