NORMAN, Oklahoma - The University of Oklahoma has eliminated about 50 staff positions in a round of layoffs Thursday.

This is the first phase of proposed cost-cutting measures. The university hopes to save more than $20 million annually, they said.

The affected employees have been notified, the university said.

The university will also cut third-party services and purchases.

“Moving toward a balanced budget is essential if we are to control tuition costs for our students, afford employee raises to ensure competitive salaries and be prudent stewards of taxpayer and donor funds,” said OU President Jim Gallogly. “Tuition and fees increased almost 25 percent over the past five years, which is not sustainable. We must continue to grow a world-class institution focused on our students and their success.”