State budget woes now hitting county's only public university hard
Governors State University shorted $17 million from state appropriations
"We are doing everything possible to put students first," said GSU President Elaine Maimon. "I thought it was important for you, as Will County leaders, to know your public university is in trouble and needs your support."
In addition, the state's Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant funds for low income students has not been fully funded. As a result of the state's budget situation alone, S&P downgraded GSU from A- to BBB+.
"Our dependence on the state is dragging us down, even though S&P commended us for paying our bills and managing the limited resources we have," said Maimon.
GSU has dealt with funding shortfalls by eliminating 62 positions, laying off employees and shutting down programs. The university has held the line and not increased tuition, despite the financial challenges brought on by the state. GSU currently has the lowest tuitions and fees in Illinois.
"Springfield keeps kicking the can down to the local level because it can't put a budget together," said Suzanne Hart (R-Naperville), chair of the legislative & policy committee. "Every day the situation gets worse, and we hear about more funding shortfalls. Yesterday it was health and social service agencies; today it's education, and who knows what tomorrow brings. It's time for our elected officials to find solutions and pass a budget."
Governors State University is Will County's only pubic university. Located in University Park, GSU has an enrollment of 6,000 students.