Increase leads to pay raises

By Brian Slupski

A pay increase for NIU faculty and staff partially will come from the tuition increase passed at the March 17 Board of Regents meeting, NIU President John La Tourette said Monday.

La Tourette said some money generated by the tuition increase would go to the faculty and staff pay increase, but he said he did not know how much.

At the March 17 Regents meeting, the Regents approved a move by La Tourette to condense a planned three-year tuition increase into a two year plan. Consequently students will have to deal with a higher tuition increase next year than originally was planned.

The plan was condensed after Gov. Jim Edgar announced his budget which called for significantly less money for higher education than originally was recommended by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).

The IBHE said because Edgar’s budget was less than it had hoped, that faculty would not receive a 2.5 percent pay increase which was allowed for in the budget. The IBHE raise was supposed to supplement a raise which was to be generated by the universities themselves through reallocation. The IBHE had recommended the universities reallocate enough dollars for a 2 to 3 percent pay increase.

The Regents recommended that NIU reallocate enough dollars to come up with a 2.5 percent pay increase. This increase, coupled with the now-defunct IBHE increase would have given NIU faculty and staff a raise of about 5 percent.

La Tourette said the NIU pay increase would be made up of reallocated dollars and from money generated by the tuition increase.

He said he did not know how large the pay increase would be, but that it could be higher than the 2.5 percent, as high as 5 percent.

If NIU is able to reallocate enough money to give faculty and staff a 5 percent raise this year, then NIU’s faculty and staff will have received about a 12 percent raise over a two-year period.

After the March 17 meeting La Tourette said there was no connection between the condensing of the tuition increase and the loss of the faculty and staff’s IBHE raise.

La Tourette said the tuition increase plan was condensed because Edgar’s proposed budget for higher education was less than expected and because there is concern the budget could be further reduced by the state legislature.

He said even though the three-year tuition plan was long-term planning by the university, the budget “scenario” was worse than was expected.

He said reallocated dollars for the faculty pay increase will come from non-academic areas like athletics.

La Tourette said “There will absolutely not be any additional tuition increases,” in the foreseeable future.

La Tourette said money from the tuition increase would go to several high priority areas including the faculty and staff pay increase, minority recruitment and retention, undergraduate education and the purchasing of library materials.

The tuition increase is in the form of a per credit hour charge. Therefore, students who take more hours will have a larger increase. Students who take 15 credit hours both semesters will, after the increase is implemented, have seen their tuition rise 38 percent over a two-year period. While students taking 13 credit hours both semesters will see their tuition rise 10 percent over the same two-year period.