Tuition hike partially pays for cuts

By Sandi Patyk

NIU President John LaTourette said Wednesday the $150 tuition increase for the spring semester will cover only about $2.5 million of the recent budget cuts.

LaTourette answered questions from Operating Staff Council President Diana Strink at an OSC open forum held in Sandburg Auditorium. In his opening statement, LaTourette said the tuition increase does not address all the problems facing the university.

“The increase doesn’t provide money for improving programs or developing the engineering program. We’re trying to raise money in ways that will do the least amount of damage to students and staff,” LaTourette said.

LaTourette said although no more faculty was hired, none of the staff was laid off. He said money had to be taken out of support areas.

“We made commitments to the number of new students we would accept this fall and the number of teachers we’d need before the budget was cut. We then had to cut areas such as new books for the library and research equipment. Hopefully we will rebuild support areas soon,” LaTourette said.

The university is making plans to reduce on-campus undergraduate enrollment by 1,000 students before 1992, LaTourette said. “In the spring we will re-admit students previously enrolled at NIU, students who have associate degrees and about 55 freshmen. This is less than half of our usual spring enrollment. We can’t reduce it fast enough to bring it down to the level of our resources.”

LaTourette told the OSC 80 percent of NIU alumni still live in Illinois. “Most alumni work in Illinois, enriching the community. We are a quality institution, and we should not have to cut enrollment.”

Strink asked if the administration is considering another shutdown plan that would close the university for three weeks during Christmas break. The shutdown, one of the recommendations the university considered to remedy a 4.5 percent base budget cut, was opposed by the staff. LaTourette said no closures are being contemplated.

Strink asked what the university is doing about the parking problem. LaTourette said the state hasn’t given NIU money to buy land for parking in 20 years. He said the responsibility to raise funds is then “thrown back to the university. We can’t pay for parking lot costs with a $10 sticker charge. We’re thinking of eliminating parking for certain groups of students and raising the rates.

“When we lowered the parking charges about 1,000 more people registered their cars, making the problem worse,” LaTourette said.