Illinois Owes Western Illinois University $46.8 Million

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School Districts like Moline and Davenport are not the only ones dealing with budget cuts. Western Illinois University recently found out it too will have to continue doing more with less.

On March 22, 2013, WIU President Jack Thomas put out a Press Release, stating that "the State of Illinois owes WIU a total of $46.8 million."

"Because of the University's current cash flow situation, it is imperative that we continue to conserve as many resources as possible," the Press Release states. "All departments are asked to limit spending to immediate operational needs only. All hiring will be evaluated on a position by position basis."

WQAD asked Dr. Joseph Rives, Vice President of WIU's Quad Cities Riverfront Campus in Moline, what that means for WIU-QC.

"We maintain a very conservative fiscal management so no expenditures over $500 are allowed unless it's reviewed and approved by the Vice President," Dr. Rives told News 8's Angie Sharp.

To clarify the hiring review, Dr. Rives said, "It means if somebody is to leave the University, we're not going to automatically assume that their position should be filled. Those needs related to classroom instruction obviously go forward right away. If there are other needs which we can juggle responsibilities within or hold off a little bit, we will."

Dr. Rives says they have never exercised layoffs or furloughs and WIU leaders do not have plans to. As for other cuts, he says it's too early to tell, but they're staying positive and focused on their mission.

"It's a great reminder that we're based on state taxpayers and student tuition dollars, so we must focus our expenditures on our core mission which is serving students."

Students say if there are cuts, they don't want it to impact their education or future.

"I wouldn't want larger class sizes," says Grace Clark, a Junior at WIU-QC studying Human Resource Management. "I like the fact that we get the one-on-one time with the teacher and that they know each of the students by name and they can help us personally.

"I wouldn't want Career Services to be cut because they help you with improving your resume and in job searches," says Nikki Beals, who is also a Junior at WIU-QC studying HRM.

One thing Dr. Rives knows the backlog in bills will not impact is development of Phase II of the Riverfront Campus, which he says is on budget, on schedule, and is expected to be ready in Fall 2014.