Loyola University Maryland has laid off 15 staff members and its president said Friday that the college had reached a "critical moment" where large tuition increases could no longer be sustained.

The 15 layoffs did not include any faculty members, and Loyola spokesman Nick Alexopulos declined to elaborate on what types of staff and administrative positions were cut. In addition, 22 vacant positions were eliminated.

"Higher education institutions throughout the U.S. are facing an uncertain future," Loyola President Rev. Brian F. Linnane wrote in an email to the campus community. "As a result of the difficult economic climate, we can no longer expect families to pay large tuition increases as they have in the past, and we face a greater demand for financial aid. Our commitment not just to our students and their families but also to our Jesuit, Catholic mission requires us to look critically at how we operate and challenge ourselves to do more with less."

Linnane said the university is nearing the end of a 18-month examination of its finances in June. Other cost-cutting measures were insufficient to balance the university's budget, he said. Alexopulos said the university was not facing a revenue decline, but that the cost-cutting and revenue-growing decisions were to ensure "that Loyola is strong going into the future."

The 37 eliminated positions make up about 4 percent of Loyola's compensation and benefits budget. Alexopulos said there may be more recommendations by the committee overseeing the cost-cutting before it convenes in June, and that some other measures include cutting energy use and a reduction in the university's contribution toward employees' retirement plan. He declined to comment on how much money the university expects to save through cost-cutting.

The laid-off employees were notified Tuesday and will get a severance package, Linnane said.

Undergraduate enrollment rose last year, according to the university, and graduate enrollment dipped slightly, though the university said the layoffs were not in direct response to that decline. Tuition will rise 2 percent in the fall, following another 2 percent increase the year before. Undergraduates living on campus at Loyola will pay more than $44,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year in tuition and fees.

"The decision to reduce our workforce is one of the most challenging I have faced in my nine years as president of Loyola," Linnane said in a statement. "We have already taken great care to exhaust as many other options for cost-cutting, fiscal responsibility, and efficiency as possible – and we will continue to do so without compromising on educational quality."

cwells@baltsun.com