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NIU May Consider Staff Reductions Amid Budget Impasse

NIU's Altgeld Hall
Susan Stephens
NIU's Altgeld Hall

Northern Illinois University's president says the institution may have to consider staff reductions if there isn't a quick resolution of the state budget impasse.  

In a campus-wide e-mail, President Doug Baker noted that NIU has cut operating costs by $60 million over the past two years.  However, enrollment has declined, and state funding is down by $107 million.  

Therefore, Baker says the university must prepare for a situation where it does not receive MAP grant funding or additional operating funds until the next fiscal year, a $35 million gap.  He said NIU could fill most of this with "revenue enhancement," which could include selling assets and calling on institutional benefactors.  However, Baker says addressing the remaining $15 million will mean merging or cutting programs early. 

"It also involves looking at staffing levels," he added.  Employee costs are more than half of the NIU budget. 

Payroll has been reduced by nearly 6%, mostly by attrition. Baker says NIU is not considering furloughs, a process used by other state universities.