Important request from President Easter
I’m writing today to ask for your help.
In the next several days, the Illinois General Assembly will determine the level of state financial support for the University of Illinois in fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1. I’m very concerned that several proposals under consideration will have serious implications on the University and its mission.
As a matter of background, the University has worked hard to maintain its excellence in the wake of declining state funding. Already, we have achieved more than $60 million in annual, ongoing savings through administrative efficiencies. We have stepped up fundraising and our donors have responded generously to support campus programs, buildings and student scholarships. Our federal research grants are increasing. Unfortunately, students and parents also have been forced to foot more of the bill through increased tuition.
However, state funding continues to shrink every year. Adjusted for inflation, the latest proposed cuts could reduce direct state funding to 1965 levels, and we enrolled half as many students then. These state funds are not only critical to maintain our world-class programs. They also are central to our land-grant mission, providing an affordable education that gives all deserving students a chance to chase their dreams. Our University – and our state -- cannot afford this continued decline.
Last month, I testified before the Illinois House and Senate Appropriations Committees. I had the opportunity to share that higher education, especially at the most advanced levels, is the key to innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. In short, it is an investment in a better tomorrow.
Along with my testimony, many faculty, staff, students and alumni have walked the halls of the Capitol with me in support of the University. However, I need your help in sharing our message.
An email or call to your elected representatives in support of the University of Illinois will go a long way in helping us obtain the best possible funding. The General Assembly will be determining our general revenue fund budget allocation within the next week. Please consider “taking action” through the Illinois Connection website today to have your voice heard.
Thank you for your ongoing support and loyalty to the U of I!
President, University of Illinois