October 1, 2015

Dear colleagues:

Today, Illinois begins its fourth month without a state budget.

The University of Illinois has managed through the ongoing impasse that has shut off funding from the state. Through efficiencies and careful financial management, we have maintained operations without disruption to students, and we will continue to honor all commitments to employees and vendors.

But operating without a critical source of funding is not sustainable in the long term. Already, we have significant vouchers for traditionally eligible expenses that cannot be submitted because there is no budget for fiscal 2016. Other public universities across the state also face shortfalls that will continue to grow as the stalemate lingers.

So, today, I joined the presidents of the state’s nine public universities in signing a letter to Governor Rauner and our legislative leaders, urging them to end the impasse before it does serious harm to the public higher education campuses that are vital to the state’s future. A copy of the letter is available online: http://go.uillinois.edu/October1BudgetUpdate.

Collectively, our state’s public universities are large-scale incubators of the highly skilled workforce and groundbreaking innovation that are central to prosperity and economic growth in the 21st century. But the funding lapse poses threats for both the current academic year and for our future.

The letter sent to the governor and legislative leaders seeks face-to-face meetings to discuss sensible solutions to the impasse and to make our case collectively for robust, appropriate and predictable funding.

In the meantime, our coalition of public university leaders is stepping up advocacy efforts – meeting with legislators in Springfield and in their districts and mounting grassroots campaigns that encourage students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends to join with us in articulating the value of public higher education for Illinois. I will provide updates as our efforts continue.

I want to assure you that the University of Illinois will continue to do whatever it takes to maintain, preserve and extend our reputation for excellence during this period of budgetary uncertainty and stress.

As always, I am deeply grateful for your commitment to the University of Illinois and for your patience, understanding and support during these uncertain times.