SIU prepares for possible 20 percent cut in funding - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

SIU prepares for possible 20 percent cut in funding

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Board of Higher Education asked the state's public universities to explore budget cuts for the 2016 Fiscal Year.

In an email sent this week to SIU's faculty and staff, President Randy Dunn addresses what the cut could mean for the university.

He says he's preparing for extremely painful reductions in the workforce at all three of SIU's campuses—reductions that would mean more than 300 positions would be eliminated in Carbondale.

The University would be forced to cut 100 positions at the School of Medicine and over 200 positions at SIU Edwardsville.

Dunn says that dozens of open positions could remain unfilled and current searches would be halted and a hiring freeze would likely be extended indefinitely in a worst case scenario.

Students say they understand why school leaders are preparing for potential cuts.

“I mean it sucks because students may have to pay higher tuition in things like that, but when you have the government telling you what to do, there's not much you really can do," graduate student Jordyn Baker said.

Dr. John Jackson, has worked with for forty years, says this would not only be a disaster for the University, but the community as well.

“You're losing the economic base of the region," Dr. Jackson said. "You're hitting every business in the area- you'll have a devastating impact on the economic activity throughout the area.”

Dr. Jackson says it will definitely have an impact on future enrollment and retention.

“Fewer classes, fewer programs, and the tuition may double," Dr. Jackson said. "It could definitely have a negative impact.”

President Dunn says that the University will share with the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the General Assembly and the governor elect the realities of a 20 percent cut to the university's budget.

Nothing is set in stone yet.

The governor will deliver a budget message in February to show specific percentages of how much will be cut from the university.

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