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Budget Letter [9/13/13]

September 13, 2013


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September 13, 2013

Dear Campus Community:

I am pleased to report to the campus community that we have now received all of the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriation from the State of Illinois. This payment comes earlier than final payments in recent years. While we are hopeful this improved payment timeline will continue, we must continue to review the University's current fiscal year cash flow with great scrutiny to ensure we have the financial resources to meet our payroll and expense obligations. To date, the state owes the University $10.2 million in appropriated funding and $5.3 million for MAP grants for FY'14.

In October, we will present an FY'14 appropriated budget of $127.6 million to the Board of Trustees for their approval, which accounts for the 3.5 percent salary increase and other new expenses totaling over $4.8 million. During these very challenging times, we have continued to meet our obligations. As we look ahead to the Fiscal Year 2015 budget cycle, we again face difficult choices. The leadership team and I are reviewing the FY'15 budget and what reductions may be necessary to ensure that it meets the strategic needs of the University, while protecting our liquidity. It is our intent to present these plans to the University during the fall semester.

Despite the challenges we each face, we must also remember our achievements. We have improved the academic profile of our freshman class. We are moving forward with necessary facilities renovations. We are continuing to develop the Quad Cities campus. We have the largest Honors cohort in recent history. Each of us can tell a story or two about the achievements that contribute to the Western experience, even with dwindling financial resources.

In light of the financial situation facing Western, we will move forward. We will continue to improve recruitment initiatives and retention programs. We will continue to provide quality academic programs and the resources our students need to succeed and to thrive.

It is clear that higher education is in a time of transition. We have increased public and governmental pressure to reduce the cost of education. Our competitors are no longer only within the borders of Illinois. Our parents and students are challenged to find the necessary financial resources to attend post-secondary education, and business sectors want a more agile higher education. These pressures, while somewhat daunting, should motivate us to find new and creative ways to provide an education. These pressures are helping to make Western a great university because we must now utilize new strategies and approaches that will help guide this University to greatness.

It is important during the difficult times that we must not lose sight of our mission and priorities. We must all work together to provide an outstanding educational experience for all of our students. It takes each of us to create those experiences for our student body. This institution is rooted in great history and strength, and we must continue to draw on this strength as we move forward as a University.

Yes, we need patience from the entire Western Illinois University community as we manage through more financial challenges. However, more than patience, we need your support to find ways to continue to meet the ever changing needs of higher education.

Sincerely,

Jack Thomas
President

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations