NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University is instituting salary and hiring freezes, non-faculty layoffs and a 10 percent cut in the university’s contributions to employees’ health-insurance premiums as the school faces a $5 million operating deficit.

Officials said the moves are a response to a 6.5 percent drop in fall semester enrollment, which is significant since tuition accounts for 70 percent of Xavier’s budget.

Kenneth St. Charles, vice president for institutional advancement the layoffs and freezes began Nov. 26, and the cut in Xavier’s contribution to employees’ premiums is to begin Jan. 1.

Xavier has 279 faculty members and 551 other employees.

St. Charles said there is no goal for the number of jobs to be cut, but he did say that no teachers will be affected at this point because they are under contract through the spring semester.

Teachers without tenure may be vulnerable after review in the spring, he said. St. Charles said those analyses, which will be made before time to sign contracts for the 2013-14 school year, should indicate where personnel and program cutbacks should be made and whether some academic offerings should be consolidated.

A prime consideration in determining what programs should go is the number of people who get degrees in them, he said, with less popular majors being more likely to face the ax.

If a program or department is eliminated, tenured faculty must receive a year’s notice so they can find work elsewhere.

In addition to the cuts, the university announced a mandatory closing from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 to save on utilities.

St. Charles said the lower-than-expected enrollment couldn’t justify a budget of about $80 million.

This fall’s enrollment was 3,178 — 221 below last fall’s figure — and well below the 3,300 to 3,400 students who were expected, St. Charles said.