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HUNTINGTON — Marshall University will likely implement the second phase of salary reductions in the coming week, officials reported to the Board of Governors on Thursday.

The first salary reduction was announced in June, which saw cuts up to 15% on salaries larger than $100,000. Phase 2 will affect employees whose annual salaries are in the range of $50,000 to $100,000.

Some example data points on the Phase 2 salary reduction scale are: 1% reduction at $54,800; 2% reduction at $60,750; 3% reduction at $68,450; 4% reduction at $77,775; and 5% reduction at $90,000.

Employees with salaries below $50,000 will not experience any salary reductions.

The decision to reduce salaries will be made once the university has a better grasp on its financial situation. Students are still able to register for classes, but they can also still drop out or move out of the residence halls.

Freshman enrollment is only slightly down from last year, which Mike McGuffey, senior vice president for institutional research, said was much better than expected.

However, President Jerome Gilbert said those numbers are slightly deceiving. There are more in-state students this year than out-of-state or international. That means the university is making less per student this year than last year, as out-of-state tuition is more than in-state.

Currently, the university is looking at a 6.1%, or $900,000, budget loss this year, which is less than predicted. That doesn’t include what officials refer to as “melt,” which is when a student who has paid a deposit doesn’t actually appear for the semester.

Mark Robinson, chief financial officer for the university, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the budget. He said they register new students every day.

“A lot is in the hands of the students,” Robinson said. “If we make it through the semester, we will be OK.”

With the exception of a few courses that can’t be taught virtually, most upperclassmen are off-campus for the semester. There are 500 freshman face-to-face courses this semester, and that is significantly lower than normal, Gilbert said. There is less than 25% of the average number of students on campus this year, he said.

In other business, the board approved the “intent to plan” an aviation maintenance technician degree program, the second degree offered by the School of Aviation. The two-year degree program is a joint partnership with Mountwest Community and Technical College, and graduates will receive a diploma from both Marshall and Mountwest. Gilbert said it is the first joint venture of its kind in West Virginia.

The maintenance technician program will be housed at Tri-State Airport in Wayne County.

The university will need to lease hangar space from Tri-State, with one of the hangars needing renovations, Gilbert said. The two entities are working on finalizing the lease.

Gilbert told the Finance Committee the renovations will cost approximately $3.75 million.

Board member Sandra Thomas asked if with the current airline situation, and American Airlines removing its flights from Tri-State, if it was still a good investment.

Bill Noe, whom the flight school is named after, said investing in aviation will always be risky, but said he’s optimistic American Airlines will return to Tri-State once they rebound. He said there were benefits to having the program in Huntington at the airport, but said it wasn’t as smooth a process as it was with Yeager Airport, in Charleston.

Gilbert said Tri-State wasn’t used to working in higher education, so there were some bumps that have now been smoothed out. He said the goal is to attract a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business to the airport, and one of the requirements is a steady stream of technicians, which the program will supply.

Also Thursday, the board approved an updated discrimination and sexual harassment policy based on framework from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as several other policies, including ones governing academic affairs related to teaching and tenure, and a fiscal policy for capital project management.

Members also signed off on an update to Marshall’s tuition and fees schedule for international students, which was needed after ending the partnership with INTO, an international student recruitment organization.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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