University of Connecticut Provost Peter J. Nicholls has announced an immediate hiring freeze of all non-teaching staff to help cut a $46 million deficit facing the university.

“I have informed the deans that searches for non-teaching staff will be placed on hold until such time as we have a chance to discuss their plans,” he wrote UConn employees last week.

Nicholls said vacant positions may still be filled, but he would need to approve them first. Hiring funded by grants will not be affected.

Nicholls has also asked each dean to submit a plan to reduce their department’s expenses by 1.5 percent for the upcoming year, which begins in July 1. A 3 percent reduction is expected the following year.

Michael Kirk, spokesman for UConn, said “once the [budget-reduction] targets are met, searches can resume.”

UConn faces a nearly $25 million a year cut from the state and has already voted to increase tuition and fees by 2.5 percent to make up about one-third of that.

“The budget circumstances facing the state and the University will be difficult, but manageable,” Nicholls wrote.

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