Letter to Campus Community
March 11, 2009
March 11, 2009
Dear Campus Community:
As you are most likely aware, the state of Illinois is dealing with a budget shortfall ranging from $6 to $9 billion. Late last semester, the Governor's Office of Management and Budget indicated they would be requesting 2.5 percent reserves from public universities' general revenue budgets. At this time, there has been no other appeal from the state to return funds beyond the 2.5 percent previously requested.
I would like the campus community to be aware that we have prepared for budget emergencies and continue to carefully monitor all budgets, particularly since the University is still owed nearly $21 million in payments. We have asked University administrators to conserve department/division travel and equipment funds, and to monitor hiring as well as overtime and overload. We need to safeguard the University's remaining budget until we gain a clearer picture from the state for the remainder of this fiscal year and Fiscal Year 2010. Our primary goals continue to be providing quality academic programs and educational resources to our students and retaining all of our employees.
As the economic crisis continues, we are aggressively marketing Western Illinois University and continue to work on enrollment and retention. We have remained constant this year, and we are striving to keep enrollment close to current levels, if not higher. We are cautiously optimistic that our new student numbers will be higher this year as the University has already received 225 more applications than last year at this time, and we have also seen a slight increase in applications from transfer students. I would ask the entire campus community to assist us in our recruiting efforts, as well as our retention initiatives.
While there has been a decline in the University's endowment, we are fortunate that Western's losses are less than the national average. Despite the decrease in endowment dollars, the University remains committed to funding scholarships and programs. We also expect to have another record year in fundraising, as evidenced by the most recent generous $1 million gift from The John Deere Foundation and The Moline Foundation for the University's engineering program.
These are difficult times, but Western Illinois University will continue to progress due to the great commitment of our faculty, staff and students. I appreciate all of the support during these uncertain budgetary times.