Enrollment shortfall possible for NIU

By Brian Slupski

NIU could experience about a $600,000 loss in tuition money if enrollment for fall semester 1993 does not improve.

Applications for fall semester, as of June 16, were down by 1,211 applicants when compared to last year. The number of prospective students NIU has accepted and have confirmed they are coming to NIU is down by 342.

NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody said if enrollment doesn’t improve and NIU experiences the shortfall, it will adversely affect NIU’s budget.

He said the university’s top two priorities are faculty raises and providing adequate course sections for students.

“If we experience the shortfall then we will have to go elsewhere for the funds. We would certainly seek every means of funding possible,” Moody said.

He said NIU would try to protect faculty raises and course sections from the shortfall by reallocating resources from lower priority areas.

“We will try to protect both (raises and sections) fully. This means other areas may be affected, like faculty research,” Moody said.

Moody said he could not be specific about the effects of the possible shortfall until legislative matters were resolved in Springfield.

There is a 1 percent raise for faculty in the state budget, but whether it will survive the legislative process remains to be seen. If the 1 percent raise does survive, it would relieve some of NIU’s financial pressure. NIU President John La Tourette has said NIU would like to reallocate between a 2.5 percent and 5 percent raise for faculty and staff.

Some of the loss could be offset by NIU’s tuition increase which was passed at the March 18 Board of Regents meeting.

The tuition increase originally was supposed to be phased in over three years, however the Regents condensed the plan into two years. Therefore, NIU will have a revenue increase higher than originally was planned.

He said some of the tuition increase would go to faculty raises, but he would not know how much until budgetary matters were resolved in the Illinois General Assembly.

Moody said NIU did not have the enrollment decline in mind when the plan was condensed.

Moody’s statements seemed to contradict comments he made in an interview at the April 14 Board of Regents meeting when he said a budget shortfall of $500,000 or more could cause a major problem for NIU.

He said the shortfall likely would affect the academic area of the university, and the number of course sections NIU could offer to students also could be affected. Moody also said at the time that the enrollment decline did factor into the condensing of the tuition increase plan.