NIU Interim Budget Considers 'Worst Case' Cuts

Sep 23, 2015

The chief financial officer at Northern Illinois University says cuts already are being considered after NIU trustees announced an interim budget last week due to the state budget stalemate.

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Al Phillips, the vice president of finance at NIU, says those university cuts include food costs and program prioritization.

“While furloughs or layoffs -- depending on what happens with the state -- could be a possibility, it’s not something that we’re actively considering at this time,” Phillips said.

Phillips says nothing has been set in stone yet for program prioritization; when it is, those changes will take effect in fiscal year 2017. He also says all funding decisions are being made with student livelihood in mind.

Phillips says the money the state owed NIU for fiscal year 2015 just came in, which means the school won’t receive any more state funding until Illinois lawmakers pass a budget.

Phillips says money from the state accounts for only 20 percent of the university’s budget, and that money  is mostly used for payroll.

“We still have funds that we can use to get us through the first of the year,” Phillips said. “Beyond that, it becomes much more difficult.”

NIU trustees last week announced a temporary budget of $389 million. That amount anticipates nearly $64 million of state aid, which is part of a 31 percent higher education cut as proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The temporary budget estimates the university will lose about $27 million dollars from last year’s budget.

Phillips says the interim budget was made assuming the worst case scenario, but NIU officials remain hopeful that the budget will be resolved before the next trustees meeting in December.