Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today Extra - February 9, 2010

NIU President John PetersSlow, reduced payments by state put universities in jeopardy

Plan needed to sustain orderly operations on campuses

Presidents and chancellors of the public universities in Illinois today jointly urged the governor and comptroller to agree on a plan to provide state funding that was committed to higher education and to reduce a payment backlog that threatens the universities’ operations.

A letter to Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes signed by the presidents and chancellors of the 13 four-year public university campuses in Illinois called upon the state to “honor its commitments” of support and set a payment schedule to enable the universities to “manage our respective cash flows … and sustain orderly operations.”

It was noted that midway through the fiscal year, as of Jan. 25, the taxpayer-supported public universities collectively remain more than $735 million behind in state payments of their total appropriation. The result has been austerity measures such as spending down cash reserves, reducing budgets, salary and hiring freezes, employee furloughs and reductions in days of campus operations.

“We have done what we can to forestall this crisis by enacting countless measures to save resources and postpone payments until the last possible moment. We have drawn down our available resources, and we are now counting on tuition dollars to keep our doors open for students beginning in the new spring semester,” the public university leaders explained.