WIUM Tristates Public Radio

WIU: Crisis of Confidence

The "Crisis of Confidence" series is a multi-year effort by the Tri States Public Radio to document the impact the two-year state budget impass had on Western Illinois University and the ongoing recovery efforts at WIU.

State support for public higher education institutions has been steadily declining in Illinois for more than a decade. But the issue was compounded, during the state's historic two-year budget impasse during Fiscal Years '16 and '17 which left public colleges and universities with little state financial support.

At Western Illinois University, that drastic cut in state approprations  resulted in significant budget cuts, employee furloughs, and layoffs.
 

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees will wait until next month to vote on a massive budget cutting plan.  In a letter issued Tuesday to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said he wants more time to come up with a proposal that threatens the livelihood of fewer people.

Rich Egger

The administration at Western Illinois University announced a plan last week to lay-off 50 teachers plus other staff members next school year.  The faculty union is now calling the plan a violation of its contract.

Rich Egger

The state of Illinois has cut funding to higher education each year for more than a decade.  Those cuts combined with declining enrollment will cause some people to lose their jobs at Western Illinois University.

Rich Egger

The University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) chapter at Western Illinois University is speaking out against a possible budget reduction proposal that recommends a "desired" student to faculty ratio of 17:1 for Western.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois believes WIU's administration is overstepping its authority by directly surveying employees about potential cost-cutting options.

University of Illinois Public Affairs

Illinois' elementary and high schools are operating as normal; funding for education was the only spending spared from Governor Bruce Rauner's veto pen. But universities are another story. They haven't gotten a dollar from the state since July.

Rich Egger

Public universities in Illinois find themselves in an odd situation.  A new school year is underway but the state has no budget for higher education, which means there is no state money coming in to the public institutions.

Western Illinois University is reducing certain employees' 12-month contracts to 10 or 11-months, some temporary employees won't be returning this fall, and a few other staff members have been let go. The changes went into effect Wednesday, July 1.

TSPR's Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University is preparing to cut $4 million out of its budget for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday, July 1, despite continued uncertainty in Springfield.

Budget Director Matt Bierman said the university plans save money by reducing operational costs, realigning a department, and through attrition.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Western Illinois University's Center for Performing Arts might have to do without some amenities as the school aims to reduce the cost of the project.  The single construction bid that came in this spring was over budget. So the state ordered Western to scale back the building plans by about $6 million, which is about 10% of the total cost.  

College Presidents Fight Possible Funding Cuts

Mar 13, 2015
Mark and Allegra Jaroski-Biava
Flickr Creative Commons

Presidents of three public universities appeared before lawmakers to make their case on why their schools shouldn’t have to endure a 31% state funding cut, as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed.

Rich Egger

There are 145 fewer students studying at Western Illinois University this spring than there were last year. Enrollment fell from 10,821 in the spring of 2014 to 10,676 this spring. That’s a 1.3% drop.

Andy Borst, Director of Admissions, said students leave for a variety of reasons, but he does not believe it is because of dissatisfaction with Western. 

TSPR's Rich Egger

The university said more than two-dozen academic programs will be eliminated. There are a few pre-professional majors and graduate certificates on the list but the majority are minors. Another 17 programs were given a year's notice to show improved enrollment numbers and increased value or face elimination.

TSPR's Rich Egger

Western Illinois University is preparing to argue against Governor Bruce Rauner's  proposed cuts to the school’s budget. Rauner wants to slash state aid to Western by 31%, or $16.5 million from the school's $52.6 million state appropriation.  That would take Western back to funding levels not seen since 1985. 

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Western Illinois University's Center for Performing Arts project is moving forward despite Governor Bruce Rauner's freeze on all non-essential state spending.

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