SIU could see potential credit rating downgrade

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - With the Illinois state budget impasse now in it's 22 month, state universities are starting to feel the affects in more ways than one.

First, the $30 million in cuts for Southern Illinois University, now the university's credit rating could be taking a hit.

According to Moody's credit rating, Northeastern Illinois University has already been downgraded, and SIU along with five other state universities could be next.

According to Moody's Investor Service, the review of the six Illinois public universities is prompted by the failure of the state to pass a budget.

Senior on the SIU campus, Laini Watts, said she is thinking about her future.

"Maybe moving out of state, I don't want to stay here with this. I mean taxes are already high enough, we don't even see our taxes being used," Watts said. "And it's just, I don't really want to deal with that. Especially since I'm from cook county and they have the highest taxes. Not only in the state, but I think in the country. I just, I don't want to deal with paying into a system that doesn't do anything for me."

Watts wants to continue her schooling in the future, but not a public school in Illinois. Another student at SIU, John Potts, is also looking ahead.

"I'm kind of worried that we are going to lose some of our departments, but I'm pretty sure since I'm I the chemistry department and we get federal grant and we get military grants, I mean we bring in money. I'm sure my department will still exist, but I'm worried about the other stem majors that might not, " Potts said.

The potential downgrade of ratings will directly and indirectly affect SIU.

"In terms of the day to day operations of the campus, no one will feel it," President Randy Dunn said. "If you are not going out to acquire more debt or to do a debt issuance for borrowing purposes, there isn't an immediate and direct impact that's felt. But again it does play into this concern about reputation.  About the public's confidence in its state universities, and that's something we have to speak to and deal with in a very forthright manner."

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