UNIVERSITY PARK—(ENEWSPF)—March 3, 2017. With a clear focus on continuing to serve its community and fulfill its mission amid continued budget uncertainty, Governors State University’s Board of Trustees at its meeting on Friday, March 3, approved a 15 percent tuition increase and the elimination of 22 programs— “difficult but necessary decisions,” according to Pat Ormsby, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
For undergraduates, the tuition increase will affect only new students starting this fall and a percentage of funds from the increase will be set aside to aid high-achieving students, favoring those who might also have some degree of need. Even with the increase, GSU maintains its position as the most affordable public university in the Chicagoland region. GSU has not increased its tuition at all for the last two years.
For nearly two years, Governors State University and all Illinois public universities have been operating without a budget from the state. For GSU, stop-gap funding resulted in a 70 percent cut in appropriations for FY 2016 and a 50 percent cut for FY 2017.
Throughout the crisis, Governors State has been able to proceed because of careful and restrained budget management, innovative programming to open new markets, program realignments, and personnel reductions. Last summer the University eliminated 62 staff positions and 13 programs from its academic roster, bringing the total of program eliminations, with today’s Board action, to 35.
GSU President Elaine P. Maimon said, “Even with an unprecedented decline in state support and the Board’s decision to eliminate academic programs, we will continue to provide high quality education as we sharpen GSU’s focus and make room for a few new majors specifically tailored to twenty-first century workforce needs.”
Adding heightened concern to the university’s financial outlook are serious deferred maintenance issues, which threaten daily operations. 85% of GSU’s buildings and infrastructure are over 45 years old. The system of water pipes and many roofs are in dire need of replacement.”
GSU is currently lobbying in Springfield for a separate bill to fix its half-century old pipes. HB2586, sponsored by Representative Anthony DeLuca, whose 80th District encompasses University Park, supports the need for deferred maintenance stop-gap funding to supplement operational stopgaps, if Illinois continues without a budget.
University officials said today’s decisions by the Board may have to be “just the beginning,” if the state does not come through with adequate funding for Governors State University.
GSU President Elaine P Maimon said, “It is our obligation to protect the long-term health of the university while we continue to serve as many students as possible with high quality programs. That is what we are going to do.”
Governors State University serves approximately 6000 undergraduate and graduate students with undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, science, the arts, and education. As a state university, GSU is committed to providing high-quality, accessible, and responsible higher education opportunities. GSU is located 30 miles south of Chicago in University Park, Illinois and offers the most affordable undergraduate tuition and fees in the Chicagoland area. GSU is committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence.