In Focus: How have the budget cuts affected you?


Three words to describe: Baker’s term

By Perspective Staff

President Baker sent out a Campus Update April 4 informing the NIU community of changes that need to be made because of the lack of state funding.

Ian Tancun | Columnist

Illinois is in the midst of a two-year-long budget crisis stemming from lawmakers’ inability to pass a balanced budget. The ramifications of this budget fiasco have trickle-down effects which have impacted public schools and universities, state employees and students at public schools.

NIU has been hit hard by Illinois lawmakers being unable to come to a compromise on a balanced budget. In 2015, NIU received $91 million in state funding, which is the amount the Illinois Board of Higher Education recommended it receive, according to a Feb. 23 Northern Star article. While in 2016 and 2017, NIU received $26 million and $48 million, respectively, according to the same article.

These cuts have impacted NIU in various ways. For example, many of my professors have stopped printing documents for students to cut down on printing costs for the university. As someone who prefers having hard copies of documents, that ends up being an expense I then have to incur.

There are more pressing issues, however. The ongoing budget gridlock in Illinois has already impacted Monetary Award Program grant funding for students. This is my biggest concern.

Many students rely on MAP grant funds to help offset the outrageous costs associated with pursuing a higher education. If those funds were no longer available, it could potentially put students’ higher education plans at risk.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed 2018 budget calls for a 10 percent increase in MAP grant funding. While I appreciate his acknowledgement that MAP grants play a crucial role for so many students, this proposed increase means nothing unless Illinois legislature passes a balanced budget and these additional MAP grant funds are actually made available.

Enough cuts have been made at NIU. I implore Illinois lawmakers to stop the bleeding at NIU by getting their act together and coming to a resolution on this budget stalemate.

MacKenzie Meadows | Columnist

NIU is making budget cuts and again cutting the important aspects to campus. The Chick Evans Field House is a 6,000-seat multipurpose arena in DeKalb, that once hosted NIU’s Division I basketball team before the opening of the Convocation Center in 2002, according to the NIU website. Because of budget cuts, the field house’s hours are reducing radically. While the offices inside of it will be open this week, the field house will be closed to the student population through Thursday, according to the Chick Evans Field House page on NIU’s website.

Not only does that take away from events student organizations hold there, including the Greek Life community and student clubs, but it also takes away from additional workout space for students when the Student Recreation Center is busy.

The university is spending more money on unnecessary things, and it’s getting out of hand. The $218,700 cost is too much for only 9.4 percent of the university to be taking advantage of, according to a March 21, 2016, Northern Star article. The university spent almost $219,000 on something that roughly 9 percent of students use and are continuing to cut printing, building hours and more of what students use.

The administration needs to start spending money to benefit its students, not for useless things it thinks make NIU look good.

Faith Mellenthin | Columnist

With the budget crisis still an issue, I have noticed that registering for classes has become more difficult because some faculty members only teach one session per class. As an illustration major, I have to choose between classes that are mandatory but are only offered during the same time slots.

This may not be a big problem for other students, but according to an April 6 Northern Star article, the university may be forced to consider decreasing the number of employees because they make up 50 percent of the budget. If there are less professors, less classes will be offered, and there will be less chances to take what is needed.

It is already difficult to finish a bachelor’s degree in four years when there are so many requirements. If the time slots for classes are limited to one, then finishing a degree requires sacrificing general classes for major classes even though all of them are necessary.

I know this is a worst-case scenario right now, but if the budget stays unresolved, extra attention should be put into timing classes correctly.