University chiefs say cost of budget cuts could be dramatic - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

University chiefs say cost of budget cuts could be dramatic

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The presidents of several public universities say Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to cut higher education funding by nearly $400 million would lead to significant setbacks at campuses.

The officials told a Senate panel Thursday that the cuts could not be offset by tuition increases.

Eastern Illinois University President William Perry says a proposed $13 loss million in state funding next year could mean hundreds of staff cuts.

Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn says a $44 million cut at the Carbondale campus and another $20 million cut to the Edwardsville campus would put the university's pharmacy and flight schools in jeopardy.

The Republican governor's proposal was aimed at bridging an expected $6 billion budget gap without raising taxes. But some Democratic legislative leaders have called the plan unworkable.

State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) released a statement in support of students and employees at SIU.

"Chairman Kotowski and committee members,

Higher education is the cornerstone of our technological and economic advancement. Southern Illinois University Carbondale serves tens of thousands of students throughout Illinois and surrounding states providing them with an internationally recognized education representing hundreds of fields. Not only does Southern Illinois University serve as a learning institution, but it's also a driving force in the Southern Illinois economy. The university employs thousands of residents with jobs ranging from president of the university to groundskeeper and everyone in between. That's not including the many businesses the university contracts with. Governor Rauner's proposed cut of over $64 million would be crippling to our region, causing massive layoffs and most importantly reducing educational opportunities for our future generation of leaders and innovators. This cut represents more than just a cut to our university; it represents an attack to the Southern Illinois economy. I urge the committee to consider the economic impact that this cut would cause, and urge you to fully fund SIU – Go Dawgs."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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