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Western Illinois University Announces $20 Million Budget Cutting Plan

Feb 26, 2016

The administration announced the cuts mid-afternoon Friday.  The cuts will take place over the next two fiscal years, beginning July 1, 2016.  In addition, the university will make additional cuts for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

“We had a reserve in place (but) we’re running out of money,” said WIU President Jack Thomas, adding the state has yet to provide any funding to Western or any other public university this fiscal year, which began July 1, 2015.

WIU President Jack Thomas
Credit Rich Egger

Dr. Thomas said the university had around $23 million in unrestricted reserve funds at the beginning of the fiscal year.  He said Western will have used all of that cash -- which was built up over the years -- “pretty soon."

Thomas also said WIU has already made $5 million in cuts during the current fiscal year.  The additional $4 million in cuts through the end of June include:

  • Mandatory furloughs beginning April 1 for all non-negotiated personnel (administrative, non-academic, and civil service employees not covered by a union) -- details to be released next week.
  • Spending limited to essential needs only
  • Restrictions in travel

“We’re entering into our ninth month without a state appropriation and without the MAP (Monetary Award Program) funding,” Thomas said. 

The university is covering MAP grants for students until the state comes through with the money.  Western is owed around $11 million in MAP funding, which would cover payroll for one month with around $1 million left over.

Cuts for Fiscal Year 2017 include:

  • A reduction of 100 in faculty and staff across divisions
  • Some administrative positions will be reduced from 12 months contracts to 10 or 11 month pacts
  • A hiring freeze
  • Closing and/or combining some offices and units
  • Reducing the hours of various offices and units

When asked if WIU will be eliminating programs or combining them to save money, Thomas replied, “There is a committee that is appointed through the Faculty Senate based on the collective bargaining contract that must be followed in order to reduce academic programs. So we’re waiting for that committee to convene and deliberate.”

He said the committee will make a recommendation to the provost.