Board of Trustees passes $389M interim budget


Cherilyn Murer, Board of Trustees member, talks about the importance of using art in the process of bettering campus life on March 27. 

By Jackie Nevarez

The Board of Trustees has approved an interim $389 million budget for Fiscal Year 2016, due to the lack of an appropriation from the state.

NIU President Doug Baker said it is an unusual situation that a budget has not been set at this time, as it usually is set on July 1. The budget, approved at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, is a more than 9 percent reduction from FY 2015’s budget of $426.5 million.

Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a $29.3 million cut to NIU’s state funding in February. Alan Phillips, vice president of Administration and Finance, said Rauner’s proposed 31.5 percent cut was included in the model for the budget.

Assumptions made in the formation of the budget include that a budget agreement with a smaller cut in state appropriations will happen, a higher drop in enrollment than the 2.3 percent drop this fall and a reduction of expenses, Phillips said. A new budget will be determined when the state allocates its appropriation to NIU, he said.

Trustee Cherilyn Murer said state funding for universities has been an ongoing issue for years, and NIU should improve in other forms of funding.

“But we’ve done a great job on personal philanthropy of the university, but I think corporate philanthropy and corporate relationship building is going to be another area for us to focus on,” Murer said.

Board Chair Marc Strauss said there is work being done in both revenue and expenses, but everyone is going to have to cooperate to achieve a balanced budget.

FY 2017 budget request guidelines

Universities are required to provide a budget request to the Illinois Board of Higher Education every year, Phillips said. NIU’s FY 2016 request in state funding was approximately $105 million, while the IBHE recommended $93 million. Without a budget to base a recommendation off, Phillips said a request of $91.1 million was made, which was essentially NIU’s FY 2015 state appropriation.