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WIU Awaits Release of State Funding

TSPR's Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University is still waiting for a sizeable check, to the tune of $6.5-million, from the state of Illinois.

WIU Budget Director Matt Bierman said the state has indicated the money from the previous fiscal year will soon be made available to the University.

“The original expectation was by September 1, but that didn’t quite happen,” Bierman said. “So we are hoping it does come across here soon, but there have been some years it has been as late as December 31.”

Bierman said funding delays are more manageable at the beginning of a semester when the university has tuition dollars from students in hand.

“Cash flow through the university is something we monitor on a daily basis,” Bierman said., "so we can continue to make payrolls and meet expenses.”

This problem isn’t unique to WIU. Many state universities and government agencies are having to adjust operations because of delays in the release of state funding.

Bierman said this has been an issue for about the last six years.

President Jack Thomas said the delayed state funding is one of two major challenges facing Western Illinois University, with the other being declining student enrollment.

“It’s released sporadically throughout the year to us, so it makes it kind of difficult to plan,” Thomas said.

The university holds back 25% of all operating dollars from the various departments, per the advisement of President Thomas, until the state money is released.  Bierman said this helps ensure that Western actually has the money in hand before it is spent and that the state didn’t decide to take reduce it’s financial contribution.

After the state finishes paying off last year's appropriations, it will still owe Western about $10-million for this year and another $5-million in MAP Funds.           

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.