USNH to decrease employee benefits for 2022

Benjamin Domaingue

The University System of New Hampshire (USNH) is proposing new employee benefits cuts for its upcoming fiscal year. 

These cuts, which impact faculty and staff benefits, are slated to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. These involve cuts to faculty retirement plans, as well as their medical insurance provided by the system. USNH aims to reduce spending by $17 million, or roughly $3,800 per employee. 

James McGrail, chief human resources officer for USNH, noted that the system is looking to fall more in line with its higher education peers, such as the University of Massachusetts, which only matches 4.3% on retirement contributions. 

“We still have a long way to go on this, to get to our peers,” said McGrail. 

USNH is planning to reduce its standard 403(b) employer match to 8%, down from 10% previously. This reduction has been delayed until Jan. 1, 2022. The system is also planning on removing dental coverage for employees, instead opting for a 100% employee contribution, making the benefit opt-in.  

“Faculty unions have not moved onto the new plan, we’ve delayed the match for non-union members until next year,” said McGrail.   

University of New Hampshire (UNH) President James Dean was one of the multiple USNH Presidents who is on track to meet expected financial goals. Much of this savings is from the 2020 Huron Report, the analysis by Huron Consulting Group which resulted in multiple layoffs and budgetary cuts in UNH core staff.  

UNH paid Huron $600,000 to complete the report, which was estimated to save over $12 million for UNH. Because of budgetary cuts from recommendations from Huron, as well as requirements from USNH, UNH is on track to save over $17 million.  

Despite these cuts, UNH remains one of the most expensive public colleges in the United States, with an average in-state tuition of over $18,000 per student.  

Even with these benefits cuts, the system has moved renovations for Huddleston Hall up, which is estimated to cost over $17.5 million. Over $11 million is set to come from the UNH operating budget. UNH plans to renovate the basement of Huddleston Hall, build a new roof and repurpose multiple floors to convert into new office space, while adding air conditioning into the ballroom to allow it to be leased.  

The American Association of University Professors of UNH (AAUP-UNH) did not respond to request for comment.