Friday, March 20, 2015

University presidents: Governor's budget cuts would be dramatic - Kerry Lester, Associated Press

Presidents of three state public universities told lawmakers Thursday that GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to cut higher education funding by nearly $400 million would lead to significant setbacks at campuses that would reverberate for years. The officials from Western, Southern and Eastern Illinois universities told a Senate panel that the cuts — a 31 percent reduction in state funds to each school's budget — respectively, to each of their could not be offset by drastic tuition increases, a move they feared would drive down enrollment and essentially force the schools to function as private entities. Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas said a $16.5 billion dip in funding for the school would not only prevent the school from keeping pace with other competing schools, but would also blunt the university's role as an economic engine for the 16-county region, which he said provided roughly $377 million in revenue annually.

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