Baker to Legislature: Rauner’s $29M cut to NIU would mean staff reductions, financial aid cuts, tuition hikes


NIU President Doug Baker discusses Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget cut proposal to NIU on Feb. 25 at University Council in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room. Baker said the proposed budget cut of $29.3 million was “not OK,” but he looks forward to the legislative discussion on the budget this summer.

By Northern Star staff

NIU President Doug Baker said Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 31 percent proposed budget cut to NIU could result in a reduction of 375 faculty and staff members.

Baker, along with NIU and student leaders, testified in front of the Illinois Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee on Thursday in response to Rauner’s proposed state allocation of $64 million to NIU for Fiscal Year 2016. The proposed allocation would be a cut of about $29.3 million, as NIU was allocated about $93 million for FY 2015.

In addition to the reduction of faculty and staff, Baker said the cuts could affect more than 4,000 students who rely on more than $18 million in financial aid from NIU. If the cuts were implemented, Baker said NIU would have to increase tuition for freshmen by 75 percent, a move he said was not feasible.

NIU will appear in front of the Illinois House Higher Education Appropriations Committee in March 26. The Legislature is expected to vote on a budget in the summer. 

The state’s final budget and the funding allocated to NIU “may look quite different” from Rauner’s proposal, said CFO Alan Phillips, according to a Feb. 19 article. NIU has faced cuts to its state funding since Fiscal Year 2010, when it was allocated $107 million.