Funding provided under the new Illinois budget plan will benefit Northern Illinois University in several ways, Acting President Lisa Freeman said in a campuswide email moments after the veto override was announced Thursday.
“I applaud our legislators for the bipartisan cooperation required to end a stalemate that has hurt our state, our university and our students,” she said in the message. “Their actions signal that they appreciate the important role of public higher education in building a prosperous future for Illinois.”
Freeman offered particular thanks to State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, for his support in the budget process. Pritchard, who voted for the spending plan and tax increase in defiance of Republican party policy, was absent from the Capitol for the override vote.
She noted that operating capital for the new fiscal year is 10 percent below the allocation for July 2014 through June 2015, the last year Illinois had a full budget.
For NIU, the spending bill provides retroactive funding to meet outstanding obligations from the fiscal year just ended.
The university also will be reimbursed for Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants credited to student accounts and receive MAP grant funding for the new fiscal year. Freeman said this funding will “alleviate stress on new and returning students who rely on MAP grants, allowing them to focus on their educational goals.”
Allocated Capital Development Board funding should allow NIU to complete the Stevens Building project for the Anthropology, Theatre and Dance departments.
Freeman said these funds will have will have a positive effect on NIU’s cash position.
“Even though we are grateful for the clarity and security provided by this latest action, it does not alter the fact that we have absorbed a funding shortfall of more than $65 million over the last three years,” she said. “We must continue the work to enhance the financial stability of NIU by increasing enrollment, becoming more efficient and aligning our resources with our priorities.”