Local university preparing for budget cuts

For the first time in a decade, Southern Illinois University saw an increase in enrollment and retention. Now SIU President Randy Dunn says potential budget cuts could stop the momentum.

“We’re modeling some fairly extreme budget numbers right now that would be difficult for the university to accommodate without a drastic change in operation,” said President Dunn.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education recently asked SIU to prepare for as large as 20% cut in state support to their budget, or about $40 million.

“Depending on where the state budget comes in we might have to look at tuition and fees to help replace some of that lost revenue as we go into fiscal year 2016,” said Dunn.

Outside of hoping for increased enrollment, the only other option would be to cut staff and service, in a worst case scenario.

“It would have a terrible effect on the local economy, the regional economy in fact. We’re going to look at other areas as much as possible to get savings. That doesn’t mean that we might not have some layoffs that have to take place,” said Dunn.

The state of Illinois has asked SIU to try and save up to 10% of this year’s remaining budget to rollover to next year to cover expenses.

Dunn says he is hopeful that state lawmakers can come up with some solution to avoid the cuts before the legislative session ends on July 1st.

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