University News

Budget Update: August 2017

August 9, 2017

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Dear University Community,

As we prepare for a new academic year at Western Illinois University, I would like to take this opportunity to share a budget update. I am pleased that, to date, we have received approximately $21.5 million from the state, which includes an estimated $3.6 million in FY18 appropriated funds, $6.8 million for FY17 and an $11 million reimbursement for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 MAP funding. As you are aware, the University covered MAP grants for approximately 2,700 students each semester, totaling approximately $5.5 million per semester, in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.

While we are happy to receive the appropriations from the state, we take delivery of these funds with guarded optimism. The University is slated to receive a total of $46.3 million in Fiscal Year 2018, which is a 10 percent decrease from FY15 state appropriations. In addition, there will be added costs for the institution when a percentage of pension costs become the University's responsibility. We anticipate that this trend of decreased revenue and cost shifts will be our new reality. Therefore, work must continue to adjust to the evolving fiscal challenges facing the state of Illinois. We must set firm plans in place now to position the University for years to come, and we must work together for a sustainable future at Western Illinois University. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure the success and viability of Western.

I offer my sincere gratitude to our employees for the sacrifices you have made over the last three years. Office of Public Safety police officers participated in a modified furlough program, select employee contracts were reduced from 12 to 11 months, faculty agreed to forgo a previously agreed upon 1 percent salary increase and also deferred 3 percent of their salary for two years subject to certain economic triggers, offices and positions were eliminated or consolidated and additional duties assigned to current employees, civil service employees experienced layoffs, support staff and facilities personnel have taken on more responsibilities, and administrative employees have taken between 12 and 23 furlough days since Spring 2016 and continue to participate in the furlough program in Fiscal Year 2018. These sacrifices have not gone unnoticed and while they have been difficult to bear, they have not been in vain. In spite of the budget impasse, we continued to provide outstanding educational opportunities for our students.

The last decade has set a precedent for the institution. We must continue to be fiscally conservative and plan accordingly for the coming years so Western remains a viable and successful institution of higher learning. We are taking steps to reduce costs and increase revenue should an impasse occur yet again and state support continues to wane. By expanding and enhancing partnerships with businesses, industries, and corporations, we are working to move WIU forward. However, even with these initiatives underway, it will take time to rectify the damage that has been done to public universities and to restore confidence in Illinois higher education.

We will continue our advocacy in Springfield and to lobby for an adequate budget for WIU and public higher education. There must be predictable funding for public higher education so we can continue our longstanding mission of educating the citizens of this state and beyond.

I offer my appreciation for your dedicated service, sacrifice, and loyalty. It is my hope that each of you will join me as we position this great University for the future. Together, we will ensure that Western Illinois University will continue to thrive for years to come.


Jack Thomas

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