4.12.08

HERE WE GO AGAIN. Headquarters is preparing us for a recision.

We have been asked to ‘hold back’ or reserve 2.5% of our general revenue budget for the current fiscal year. However, given the size of Illinois’ budget deficit in the context of an increasingly unfavorable economic outlook, we need to be prudent and prepare for the possibility of further reductions this year and in FY2010.

Meeting the FY09 reserve request from the Governor’s Office of Management & Budget requires stringent attention to spending at all levels. We have been working diligently since September on financial contingency plans aimed at maintaining educational quality and programs and protecting student, faculty and staff employment. Freezing hiring except for critical areas, reducing and managing all expenditures including travel, equipment, and general operations are just some of the ways we have prepared for this mid-year budget reduction. Yet our work is far from over: state revenue projections show little improvement over the next 12 months, and recovery is not expected to begin before mid-2010.

As we anticipate the Governor’s budget message in February, signs are pointing to a very austere FY2010 budget. Now, more than ever, we need to reaffirm our priorities as a university community: commitment to our students, engagement with our region, pursuit of new knowledge and tireless support for each other. The work of the university will go on, as it has for more than a century.

Business as usual is not an option. Now is the time to think, seriously, about taking advantage of that excess demand for perceived prestige degrees, by pricing to reflect the excess demand and raising admission standards.

A Northern Star report suggests scrutiny for the amenities, which might not be all bad.
It is not known how fees and tuition will be affected as it is a long and detailed process, but of the things students may notice that will be impacted by these budget cuts, [Northern Illinois president John] Peters said, will be equipment, recreation, student activities and anything requiring “one-time expenditures.”
The article goes on to note changes in the commencement ceremony, changes motivated by the propensity of many in attendance to get up and leave before the ceremony continues. The fact that many people are that nyekulturny says more about the failure of society's institutions to inculcate the Habits of Effective People and about the fruits of access-assessment-remediation-retention than I could say in 8,500 post.

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