State pays money owed to NIU for MAP grant funding

By Jessica Sabbah

During the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday, it was announced that the state has paid a majority of the $12 million owed to NIU for MAP grant funding for fall 2010.

Students had already received their awards and the money had been distributed to students by NIU with internal funds.

Brad Hoey, team leader of Media Relations and Internal Communications, said in a phone interview after the meeting that the state has paid NIU about $11.6 million of the $12 million owed for last fall, but the state still owes the university over $860,000.

No money has been received yet for the current spring semester, which amounts close to the $12 million that was owed for fall 2010, Hoey said.

With the last payment on Feb. 24, the university is still owed over $69.5 million from the state, according to NIU’s State Pension and Budget Update website.

“Pay back pattern is very similar to what we experienced in FY2010,” Hoey said.

Committee Co-Chair David Goldblum presented a report on a Feb. 22 Committee on Resources, Space and Budgets meeting where the potential effects of Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed FY12 budget was discussed.

Goldblum reported to the Senate that the NIU budget from the state is now at 1998 levels, and currently accounts for about 20 percent of the university’s total budget.

Goldblum also reported how budget constraints are impacting students with the federal decrease in Pell Grants as well as the fact that a bill in Springfield to remove tuition authority from the Board of Trustees from Illinois universities and move it to Springfield.

He also said there has been discussion in Springfield as to whether the Truth in Tuition program needs to continue.

Although Cole Hall is still scheduled to reopen in fall 2011, class may not be held in the building until spring of 2012 or may be moved to Cole mid-semester due to the uncertainty of the actual occupancy date.

Steve Cunningham, vice president of Human Resource and Compliance, also presented an update to the Senate on pension reform and its potential impact on faculty and staff.

Cunningham described this being “a defining moment with retrospect of the future of our pension benefits.”

“We feel that it’s a very important that the faculty and staff have full information about the urgency of the situation and also the range of proposals and different alternatives that exist for possible legislative actions,” he said after meeting.

The Faculty Senate will meet next on March 30 in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center.