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Unity College hands out bonuses to employees as enrollment surges

Abigail Curtis
Bangor Daily News
A sign on the Unity College campus.

Unity College says it plans to give employees bonuses of up to $2,500 amid changes that have led to record enrollment.

Two years ago, Unity announced that it was moving away from a typical, two-semester model focused on its campus in Waldo County, and would instead transition to hybrid learning.

The move led to pushback from some students, employees and alumni, but President Melik Peter Khoury said it led to enrollment growing from about 800 students to about 3,500. About 250 of those students are in hybrid learning, while more than 3,000 are in Unity's Distance Education program. The school notes that the change has led to a more diverse student body and more adult learners.

The school is also now planning to add 100 new full-time positions, as it expects enrollment to grow to about 5,000 students over the next year.

Khoury said he hopes the bonuses will help recognize current employees — particularly those who've stuck around through the school's transition, as many have had to take on additional responsibilities.

"I want our employees to see a direct correlation to their own well-being. And the gift of time, and a one-time cash thank you, became a no-brainer," Khoury said.

The school is also giving employees a three-day break next month.