NIU President Doug Baker sent this message today to members of the university community.
Mike Mann, NIU’s director of State Relations, and I were in Springfield earlier this week working with legislative leaders and the governor’s office. It’s clear that both the legislative and executive branch members understand the extreme budget challenges facing higher education in particular and state government in general.
In spite of their desire to solve these challenges before the end of the regular legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session for the second consecutive year without a comprehensive state budget in place.
All involved assure us that they appreciate how vital such funding is to ensuring that universities can continue their educational mission. Members of the Illinois House of Representatives have pledged to continue working for compromise and to holding special sessions on Wednesdays through the end of June with the aim of finding a solution.
We continue to work with other universities, state education agencies, legislators in Springfield and the governor’s office to craft a budget agreement that appropriately funds public universities and MAP grants for both FY16 and FY17. Such funding is critical to our ability to support the efforts of our staff and faculty as they work to ensure student career success. It also is critical to our ability to support the social and economic prosperity of Illinois.
Despite this latest setback, we are on track to open for normal operations this upcoming academic year. This is due to the hard work of our faculty and staff as well as to careful management of our resources. My thanks to all the university members who are working diligently to address our current challenges and create a strong future for the university.