UW Dental School is Fixing Financial Woes, Overall Deficit Remains a Worry

Over the last year, the University of Washington’s debt-plagued dental school eliminated the equivalent of 34 full-time faculty and staff through layoffs and attrition, tightened expenses and found other ways to save money. Now, its interim dean says, it has turned a financial corner.

The school is still losing money — $2 million over the last fiscal year — and saw its long-running deficit grow to $38 million, although the losses last year are less than a third of what was originally forecast because of the layoffs and other cuts.

The school’s money woes mirror a much larger financial issue at the UW, which in the last fiscal year had an operating deficit of $325 million.

It’s not unusual for big universities to run modest operating deficits from year to year, said Brian McCartan, the UW’s vice president of finance. The shortfalls are typically offset by gifts from donors and investment returns from endowments.

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