CASTLETON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's Castleton University is going to be reducing its staff through layoffs, elimination of positions and early retirements as part of an effort to close a $1.5 million operating loss for the current year, officials said.

Castleton President Karen Scolforo tells the Rutland Herald the exact number of cuts among the roughly 400 employees hadn't been determined. Affected staff should know by the middle of May.

"We are expecting to take the semester to make that decision. Our priority is to remain focused on the student learning experience so our department heads and faculty will be assessing department needs and coming up with those decisions by the end of the semester," she said.

The changes are needed to maintain affordability for students, officials said. The number of majors the school will offer is expected to be reduced from 79 to about 55.

Since 2000, Castleton enrollment grew from about 1,200 to more than 2,000 in 2014, but since then enrollment has decreased to around 1,800 full-time undergraduates.

Castleton University is a part of the Vermont State College system. State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding said the other state colleges are facing similar challenges.

"The competition for a smaller number of students is intense," Spaulding said.

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Information from: Rutland Herald, http://www.rutlandherald.com/