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President Baker statement on Rauner budget proposal

February 18, 2015

NIU President Doug Baker walked with students at the Relay for Life event.

Gov. Rauner today in his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016 has included a significant reduction in the state’s higher education appropriation. While the magnitude of his proposal is certainly of concern to us and greater than we had hoped, it is important to note that this is the beginning of a legislative process that will play out over the next few months. During that time, a great deal of discussion and negotiations will occur. Keep in mind that the 31 percent reduction contemplated in the governor’s budget relates to that portion of our budget that is state supported, which at $93 million is currently less than 25 percent of our overall budget of more than $400 million. In conjunction with our peer institutions and stakeholders, we will continue to make our case to the governor and the state legislature for the value of higher education and what we deliver to the State of Illinois.

Rauner-Budget-Address

Gov. Rauner addresses the Illinois General Assembly during his budget address February 18, 2015.

The governor’s budget proposal and the implications for the financial sustainability of higher education is a reminder of the important work on which we have embarked with the launch of our program prioritization effort. This effort to align our resources with our mission and vision will help ensure that we are delivering the programs that will facilitate the success for our students as well as faculty, staff and stakeholders. In addition, it is apparent that we need to look for ways to deliver our services in the most efficient manner possible. We will look for the best thinking across our university and in partnership with other schools to discover creative ways of dealing with this challenge. Our objective is to be good stewards of our public funding and to hold ourselves accountable not only to the state, but to our students, parents and other stakeholders.

The good news is that the financial systems we have put in place over the past year and the significant contingency planning we’ve done in advance of the governor’s budget proposal position us to deal with the current situation. We are committed to continuing to be transparent and timely in our communications about the state budget. We also welcome any questions and comments you have.