SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) – University officials are urging Illinois lawmakers to pass a state budget, saying nearly a year without state support has led to layoffs, students struggling to pay tuition without grants and high schoolers considering going elsewhere for a degree.
Illinois’ Board of Higher Education Director James Applegate told a Senate committee Thursday that the state is “on the verge of dismantling the higher education system.”
Colleges have not received funding since July 1 when the current fiscal year budget should’ve taken effect. Higher education is facing future cuts as the state deals with a multi-billion-dollar deficit.
Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman told lawmakers that anxious high school students are contemplating going to other states for an education.
Southern Illinois University expects to lay off several hundred employees if it loses over $45 million in state funding in the budget for fiscal year 2017.
President Randy Dunn issued a report Wednesday that detailed how the university’s three campuses would be affected if Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed 20 percent reduction in state university funding is enacted as part of the budget.
Dunn said more than 180 faculty and staff positions could be cut in Carbondale, about 100 jobs at the School of Medicine in Springfield, and nearly 140 positions in Edwardsville.
WSIU-FM reports that the Carbondale campus would reorganize its academic structure, cut library hours, scale back student services and eliminate sports.
Dunn said further cuts would be made if a state budget isn’t passed until after the November 2016 election.