UM System announces buyout program for some tenured faculty

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri provost announced a "one-time opportunity" tenure buyout program in a Friday email for her campus. The program is called a Voluntary Separation Program. Faculty at UM System schools can receive a lump sum when they retire if they meet certain criteria. According to the UM web site, to be part of the program, a faculty member must:

  • be full-time and benefit eligible
  • be age 62 or over
  • hold a tenured appointment
  • have accrued five years or more of creditable service

The program applies to nine-month faculty member retiring effective September 1, 2019. In addition, the program applies to 12-month faculty member retiring between July 1 and September 1 of that year.

The payment would be one and a half times a faculty member's benefits-eligible salary, not to exceed $200,000.

UM System media relations director Christian Basi said the program partly serves a financial purpose. Basi said the program is a tool that can give department budgets flexibility.

"As with all higher education institutions across the country, we're all facing a bit of a budget issue or financial strain," Basi said.

Basi also called the program a tool to give colleges and departments more "financial wiggle room" next year. The institution wants to be able to keep giving raises to staff and faculty, Basi said. The program could also influence the research direction within a department, Basi said.

The system does not have a target number of people the system is looking for to use the program, Basi said.

Basi said the program also rewards longtime faculty and called the program "a personal decision" for faculty and emphasized that the program is voluntary.

"It really is up to them to determine if this is something that makes sense for them to do now," Basi said.

The most recent similar program was offered in 2014.