State funding blamed

By Stephanie Bradley

A shortage of state funding has made it increasingly difficult for NIU students to graduate in four years, and most students are forced to take summer classes or attend school for an extra semester or year.

NIU President John LaTourette said the shortage of state funding has reduced NIU’s ability to provide classes, and also provide them when students need to take them.

igher education funding is one reason why only about one-third of NIU students graduate in four years, said NIU Provost Kendall Baker. The amount of students who have graduated in five years is 50 percent, he said.

While 50 percent is not low when compared to the national average, LaTourette said he is not satisfied with it. He hopes Gov. James Thompson’s recent budget recommendations will help make progress in some areas.

The budget for fiscal year 1990 is “not a budget that will completely turn NIU around in a decade, to cure a decade’s erosion, but it will boost morale,” LaTourette said.

Baker said underfunding is not the only reason for the large number of students that do not graduate in five years. “In the best of all funding worlds, a large number (of students) won’t get degrees,” he said.

There are many other reasons students do not earn their degrees at NIU. LaTourette said students drop out of school for various reasons, leave NIU and return after a few years, are academically dismissed or transfer to other schools. He said 65 percent of students who start school at NIU eventually graduate.

About 90 percent of all NIU students work while taking classes, said NIU Associate Provost Lou Jean Moyer. Because of their jobs, students sometimes do not take full class loads, which causes them to stay in school for more than four years, she said.

“On the other hand, there is no doubt financial difficulties at NIU have and will continue to contribute to our inability to provide the number of classes that are needed by students to graduate in four years,” Baker said.

Adding class sections seems like a good solution for some problems, but Moyer said adding sections to classes is not as easy as it appears. Finding space and the correct room size for the number of students in the class and finding an instructor for the class all are factors, she said.

Moyer said some professors also teach graduate courses, which include individual discussions with graduate students.