NEIU, Chicago State In Crisis But ISU Is Coping With The Financial Starvation

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Northeastern Illinois University will impose two furlough days in the coming week and another in May, due to a major shortfall stemming from the state’s budget crisis.

The Chicago-based school announced Friday it’ll close all locations and continue an employee furlough program on April 11, April 12 and May 1 in addition to canceling classes. The move is an attempt to help make up for state support stalled amid Illinois’ two-year budget logjam.

The closure will affect about 10,000 students and 1,100 staff members. Services like computer labs and child care will also be unavailable.

Interim President Richard Helldobler said he doesn’t know how much longer the university can survive this “financial starvation.”

This is the second time Northeastern has required employees to take unpaid days off since the state budget impasse began in mid-2015.

Chicago State University is also in crisis. But for the foreseeable future, Illinois State University does not anticipate furloughs, faculty cuts or reductions in class offerings. WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports.

How is it coping?

It has left more than 120 staff positions unfilled; University President Larry Dietz said, during a break in a Board of Trustees’ meeting in Hinsdale, that alone has cut spending by $11 million. It also has cut professional travel, large equipment purchases and non-safety-related maintenance and construction projects to make up for an estimated loss in state aid of $80 million over two years, based on state allocations for fiscal year 2015, the last in which Illinois had a state budget.

But enrollment is down at many state universities and fund-raising has suffered, and Dietz said that is what separates ISU from schools such as Northeastern and Chicago State. Both are healthy at ISU, and he said the university’s enrollment is at a 25-year high.

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