Friday, March 17, 2017

Higher-ed leaders: More state cuts would be devastating - Tom Kacich, News-Gazette

Leaders of Illinois' public colleges and universities said Tuesday that their institutions can't withstand further budget cuts and painted a picture of a system already badly damaged. One president said the state's higher-education system is approaching the equivalent of "junk-bond status." In a two-hour session, the university officials said they had eliminated thousands of positions, instituted furlough days, cut programs and now were assessing whether to undertake extraordinary measures, including eliminating instructional days and perhaps an entire college. The UI has reduced non-instructional staff by about 500 positions and saved about $20 million in reduced utility costs and debt refinancing.Eastern Illinois President David Glassman said that the Charleston-based university had eliminated low-enrollment programs, trimmed 413 positions (24 percent of its employee headcount), mandated last year that all administrative and professional personnel take 18 furlough days, extended vendor payments and undertook internal fund sweeps.

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