Howard University President Sidney Ribeau sent a letter to the university community Monday seeking support for a proposed series of actions that he said would help the school regain strong economic footing, The Hilltop student newspaper and website reported.

“According to the letter, Howard University expenses exceeded available funds during the first half of the fiscal year which has led to the implementation of a number of ‘sacrifices’ set to help reduce the impact of this mishap on students,” The Hilltop reported.

The proposal includes deferring some campus building projects, shutting down campus almost completely, except for essential services, during spring break and a review of university contracts with an eye to reducing the size and number. Later in the semester, furlough days may be imposed on all faculty and staff.

“If it becomes necessary to implement the furlough, I will ask the University’s senior leadership to assume the greatest responsibility by taking additional furlough days,” Ribeau wrote.

The news came on the heels of an earlier announcement that tuition for the 2012-2013 school year would increase by 12 percent.

Last week, Ribeau and the Howard University Student Association hosted a “Fireside Chat” to listen to student concerns.

Students called for better and upgraded facilities before increasing tuition costs, but Ribeau said those improvements were factored into the higher costs.

“George Washington (University) has one of the highest tuitions in the country and, as a result, they have excellent capabilities in terms of providing their students with top-of-the-line tools,” Natanya Abraham, a sophomore computer science major, told The Hilltop.

“If students want to compare standars between Howard and GW, then they better be prepared tos pay what they pay in tuition.”

For the 2011-2012 academic year, it costs about $41,000 a year for an undergraduate to attend Howard, including room and board and fees and a base tuition of about $18,000, up from about $38,000 for the 2010-2011 term. The total cost for the 2011-2012 term at George Washington University for undergraduates is about $58,000.