Governors State University cutting programs, increasing tuition

After two years of funding cuts from Springfield and no end to the state budget stalemate in sight, Governors State University will increase tuition 15 percent and cut 22 programs, the south suburban campus announced.

The move comes as the campus of about 6,000 students copes with a 50 percent decrease in state funding for the 2016-17 school year. Board of Trustees members approved the changes at a meeting Friday, spokeswoman Keisha Dyson said.

Among the programs to be cut is the bachelor’s degrees in Economics, and the master’s program for education.

The tuition increase is the first in two years, and the school has cut a total of 35 degrees and certificate programs during the past two years. Last year, 63 staff positions were cut. During the 2016 fiscal year, GSU saw its state funding decrease more than 70 percent, to $6 million.

The last two years, the school has received about $18 million from the state total, less than the $24 million it received in just fiscal year 2015 — the year Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner took office, and the last year the state Legislature passed a budget.

Students currently enrolled at Governors State will be able to finish programs slated for elimination, Dyson said. Base tuition will increase from $8,160 to $9,390. With annual tuition and fees of $10,516, it had been the least expensive school in the Illinois university system.

The state’s budget impasse has hit college campuses across the state hard. Chicago State University on the city’s South Side has survived only after deep budget cuts — including laying off 40 percent of its employees — and a string of emergency payouts from the state.

On Monday, Governors State University President Elaine Maimon was headed to Springfield to testify before the state Higher Education Committee alongside other state university presidents.

In a statement, university officials said the tuition increase and program cuts might be “just the beginning,” if more state funding does not come through.

Maimon also will lobby for stopgap funding to cover critical repairs to the campus water system and aging roofs, noting that 85 percent of buildings on campus are more than 45 years old.

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via Chicago Sun-Times

March 6, 2017 at 12:16PM

Governors State University cutting programs, increasing tuition

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