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Penn State offers voluntary buyouts to Commonwealth Campus employees

Old Main administrative building
Emily Reddy
Old Main administrative building

Pointing to declining enrollment and a need to cut costs at its Commonwealth Campuses, Penn State announced Wednesday that it is offering voluntary buyouts to employees at those campuses and that it has not ruled out layoffs in the future.

The announcement comes as the university has been slashing upcoming budgets and rolling out plans for systemwide reviews of its academic programs. As part of that, the 20 Commonwealth Campuses were already facing a total of about $50 million dollars in budget cuts for fiscal year 2026.

Under the “voluntary separation incentive program,” eligible employees can get a lump sum payment of 12 months’ salary and subsidized health benefits for six months. The offer runs through May 31. It's available to non-union, full-time staff members, tenure and tenure-line faculty and academic administrators.

According to the announcement, the university does not have plans “at this time” to offer buyouts at University Park, the law schools or the College of Medicine. But, it said, that could change based on future needs.

And, according to the university's FAQs on the topic, involuntary layoffs could occur in the future and would not include the benefits that are part of the voluntary buyout program.

Anne Danahy