Governors State University President Speaks out on Proposed Budget Cuts

 UNIVERSITY PARK—(ENEWSPF)—February 24, 2015. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed fiscal year 2016 budget includes a 31.5 percent across-the-board cut in appropriations to Illinois public universities. For Governors State University, this equates to a $7.8 million decrease in state funding, which GSU President Elaine P. Maimon said would negatively impact students, programs, research, and community service. GSU’s current state appropriation is the lowest of all Illinois public universities despite having the highest enrollment growth in the state.

Maimon said, “These significant changes were made without any increase in funding from Illinois taxpayers. GSU has provided an excellent return on investment for the people of Illinois, offering educational opportunities to students in an underserved area of the state. Governors State prides itself on being a model of fiscal responsibility, while still being committed to our mission of ensuring an exceptional and accessible education for our students.”

Over the past several years, GSU, like other Illinois public universities, has operated in a climate of financial uncertainty concerning state appropriations. Through strategic planning and broad-based budget reallocation, the university has taken bold steps to develop new markets and to increase enrollment, fulfilling state goals by providing high quality education to students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Last fall GSU became a full service university, offering first-year students a core curriculum taught by full-time faculty members, while strengthening its commitment to community college transfer students and returning adults.

“Our business plan is working. We have significantly increased student credit hours—over 12 percent this year. We are a national success story. The proposed cuts would be counter-productive to Illinois’s goals.”

Maimon also noted that while the budget proposal must now move forward for debate and negotiation in the Statehouse, passage of the appropriations cuts would undermine the state’s own agenda. “I hope that the Governor’s budget proposal is just the opening salvo in a political process that will conclude in recognizing GSU’s valuable and continuing contribution to the state. A 31.5 percent cut in appropriations in a single year would be devastating.”

Governors State University was founded in 1969 as an upper division university. Today, as a four-year university, more than 5,500 students undergraduate and graduate students choose from 64 degree and 24 certificate programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, the arts and education. GSU is a public university located 40 miles south of Chicago in University Park, IL offering the most affordable undergraduate tuition in the state. GSU is committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence.