University News

Frequently Asked Questions – Dec. 8, 2015 Budget Address

December 11, 2015


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Below please find a series of questions and answers based on President Jack Thomas' December 8 budget address.

Q: How much have state appropriations for WIU decreased over the last decade?

A: Western's state appropriation has declined from $64.3 million in Fiscal Year 2002 to $51.4 million in Fiscal Year 2015. The nearly $13 million decrease has had a dramatic impact on our University. And in the sixth month of Fiscal Year 2016, we do not yet have a state appropriation.

Q: In addition to reduced state funding, what other financial aspects are affecting Western's budget?

A: MAP funding and other financial aid for our students continues to be limited or cut. In addition, the University's total enrollment has decreased in the past seven years, which affects the income brought in by tuition. The tuition shortfall affects the University's overall budget.

Q: How will the University cover the shortfall, and the anticipated budget reductions from the state?

A: The University has implemented a retirement incentive program in order to realize long-term savings on payroll. To date, the retirement incentive program has resulted in over 50 individuals choosing to retire on December 31. This will result is some savings, though the total amount is not yet known until the staffing needs of the affected departments are evaluated.

The University must also consider reductions to its programs, services and personnel. Through attrition measures, and layoffs, the University will begin to strategically reduce.

The University will eliminate or phase out in the upcoming months select academic programs based on program enrollment and program reviews. The Provost's Office, along with the Faculty Senate, is coordinating the Academic Programs Elimination Review Committee as required by the faculty contract. The committee will begin reviewing and making recommendations for each of these programs. Students currently in these selected majors will be allowed to continue in the program and will graduate in their selected major. We will no longer accept new students in the programs selected for elimination.

The leadership team continues to explore additional cost-saving ideas and options that were proposed by members of the University community in a recent questionnaire. Responses were received from 1,101 employees. At this time, the leadership team has not made any final decisions about furloughs, wages or other proposed ideas. We will discuss these items further with bargaining units. The team will continue to examine the budget, and will continue to monitor state decisions and ultimately continue to make the necessary decisions in order to ensure the success of Western Illinois University.

Q: What are the proposed reductions from each of the vice presidential divisions?

A: Reductions from each division include:

Academic Affairs

The Academic Enhancement Task Force discussed programs to determine the following: serving the region, demand, post-graduation employment, and popularity.

• Based on program reviews, Academic Affairs will eliminate and/or consolidate academic programs. The reduction and/or consolidation of programs may result in personnel reductions. If a position elimination results in a layoff, the recommendation(s) will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval.

• Reductions will be effective July 1, 2016 (FY'17).

• 50 faculty positions will be eliminated pending Board of Trustees approval. Additional support and administrative personnel reductions will also be necessary.

• Deans and department chairs will be meeting with affected departments/personnel prior to the end of the semester.

Administrative Services

• Since the beginning of FY'16, 13 positions within the division have been eliminated.

• Reductions in funds and leaving open positions vacant have been cost-saving measures for FY'16.

• 15 positions will be eliminated in FY'17.

Advancement and Public Services

The Advancement and Public Services Division is one of the two smallest divisions on the Macomb campus with just over 40 employees and approximately $3.1 million in appropriated funding.

• Several positions have not been filled in recent years, and remain open (director of marketing, director of development, and director of major and planned giving).

• One University Relations employee laid off and position will remain vacant.

• Clerical position in the Development Office will remain vacant.

• Assistant director position in University Television will remain vacant.

• Two retirements as part of incentive program. One position will not be immediately filled.

• Considering the reduction of some positions from 12 months to 10 months.


Quad Cities & Planning

The Quad Cities campus and University Planning represents 1.7 percent of the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriated budget.

• The assistant vice president for Quad Cities and Planning position will remain vacant.

• Since FY13, as examples of budget reductions, WIU-QC administrative operations expenditures have been reduced by 11 percent ($24,000) and operations and maintenance operating expenditures by 25 percent ($94,000).

Student Services

Student Services operates from three different funding sources: Auxiliary (UHDS, Union, Bookstore, Campus Rec), Student Fees (Beu, Athletics, Student Activities, Go West), and Appropriated (Admissions, Financial Aid, Counseling, Career Services, Disability Services, Scholarship Programs, and Veterans Services).

• Service areas funded by Auxiliary and Student Fees, the program and personnel changes (UHDS, Beu, and Bookstore) are more immediate. The services and staff are reduced when there are fewer enrolled students. Recent modifications have been implemented in meal services, maintenance, and renovations. The changes made in these areas over the last three years have resulted in a reduction of $2.2 million in expenditures.

• In the appropriated funds areas, two positions have been eliminated, four individuals have voluntarily retired, five positions have been reduced, two positions have been left vacant, and two additional positions are scheduled for elimination over the next six months. The changes made in these areas over the last two years amount to a reduction of $500,000.

• Reviews of Athletics, Health Services and other service areas continues.

Q: What are the estimated cost savings of the proposed reductions presented December 8?

A: The reductions will result in approximately $7.5 million in savings. Depending on what occurs at the state level, it will be necessary to reduce the University's budget by at least an additional $4 million to maintain a balanced budget in FY'17.

Q: How will the proposed reduction of the tuition rate announced on December 8 help the University?

A: The proposal is designed to stabilize enrollment through a reduction in tuition for new students, offering in-state tuition for all domestic undergraduate students, and providing more targeted scholarships. The goal of the proposal, which will be considered by the Board of Trustees at the December 18 meeting, is to continue to enhance the academic quality of the University's student body, improve retention and to continue Western's tradition of affordability.

Q: How will the retirement incentive help the University's cash flow?

A: While there will be a short-term cash outlay to cover the incentive, the cost-savings will be realized in FY'17.

Q: Can the University continue to meet payroll and other obligations through the Spring 2016 semester?

A: The University has sufficient funds to cover expenses through the Spring 2016 semester. We will work together to weather these difficult economic times. Together, we will come out of this better, stronger and with more resolve.



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