Class project reports univ. views on cuts

By Peggy Keslin

Student attitudes and administrative feelings toward recent budget cuts are the targets of an NIU marketing class research project.

A preliminary study recently completed by the eight-member group indicated that about half of the students questioned were upset about the $150 tuition increase for next semester resulting from Illinois budget cuts in higher education.

Group member Dave Katrein said, “A more extensive survey will be circulated among students this week.”

The survey asks students how the cuts are affecting them and which departments and programs they think the university should cut back on.

The group will question between 1,200 and 1,500 students at random and formulate the results to find out which programs should be cut.

The group also interviewed several administrators and faculty members including NIU President John LaTourette and Eddie Williams, vice president for finance and planning.

A report of the interview with LaTourette stated the university will be forced to cut the number of students admitted into NIU next fall.

It also stated that the hiring of temporary staff members was drastically reduced while undergraduate-level courses had been increased to accommodate students.

“One faculty member said since last year their class size had a 5 percent increase in students,” said group member Barry Pomerantz.

The report quoted LaTourette as saying, “NIU students should be aware that the problem lies in Springfield, where Northern gets its funding.”

Katrein said, “On the basis of our research, I feel the tuition increase was necessary because of the budget cuts—the university cut as much as they could before implementing the tuition increase.”

The group quoted Williams as saying, “NIU could not do anything about the cuts because no one knew that the state tax increase (which would cover higher education cost) would not be passed.”

He told the group, “This was a major restraint on the financial planning for the fall semester because the final decision of the state tax came late in June and the Board of Regents did not meet until September.”

Williams also was quoted as saying, “On a statewide average, NIU is underfunded.”

Members of the marketing research group said they will provide NIU administrators and student leaders with a copy of the survey results.