Not the best news, hopefully there can be a creative way to avoid layoffs but a tuition hike appears to be unavoidable again for students.

As the University of Minnesota Duluth celebrates the inauguration of Chancellor Lynn Black this week, officials also are sweating over the prospect of cutting $7 million over the next two years.

That $7 million shortfall, caused by a reduction in state aid, translates to a 5 percent cut in UMD’s $145 million operating budget. It could end up being more or less than that, depending on how the Legislature resolves the state budget, but each college within UMD has been asked to form two budgets — one with a 3 percent spending reduction; another at 6 percent.

Put in terms of work force, the anticipated cuts equal about 85 of UMD’s 1,600 employees, though Greg Fox, vice chancellor for finance and operations, said the school is planning ways to avoid layoffs on that scale.

Possibilities could include cuts in administration and student support services. Tuition, which will be set in the spring, is expected to go up 5 percent.

Three years ago, UMD received $50 million from the state. Next year officials expect to receive about $32 million.