Chancellor Message 1/19/10

Message to Students and Families
RE Fiscal Crisis

Dear UIC Students:

I write with a brief update on the university’s financial situation and the potential impact on current and future UIC students.

Public universities in Illinois, including UIC, are in the midst of a major financial crisis. After eight years of severe financial pressures, the University of Illinois system, including UIC, by the beginning of this month had received only 7% of its state funding so far in Fiscal Year 2010, which began July 1 and includes the current school year; we were owed a total of $436 million, and the amount is increasing. State funding is critical because it pays for the salaries of most employees as well as key operating expenses such as the ibrary, computing services, utilities, maintenance and snow removal, to name but a few.

On Jan. 5, Interim President Stanley Ikenberry announced several steps aimed at conserving cash to help the university continue operations through the end of this academic year. These include four furlough days – unpaid days off – for many faculty and staff, and a hiring freeze.

We believe that these short-term cash-conservation measures will not significantly affect most students during the spring semester. For example, we anticipate that a great many of our dedicated faculty will not take furlough days on the days they are scheduled to teach. However, because there are some faculty who teach five days a week, and because employees are prohibited from working on furlough days, there will be occasions where a class cannot be held. In such cases, faculty will give students advance notice and assign work outside the class.

Of much greater concern to us is Fiscal Year 2011, which begins July 1 and includes the next academic year. As of this writing, there are no indications that the state's financial situation will improve significantly during the next school year; consequently, operating in an atmosphere of great uncertainty, the campus is engaged in contingency planning for FY11 that assumes substantial cuts to the budget. As always, our focus will be on protecting and, where possible, strengthening our academic enterprise, but without adequate resources we will not be able to continue to carry out business as usual. I care about your education; currently, public universities in Illinois are at risk. As the situation unfolds, we will keep you fully informed of significant developments regarding our budget and our academic programs.

I encourage you to share this note with your parents or guardians, and to advocate with your elected officials for a prompt, sound resolution to the state’s financial crisis, including adequate funding for higher education, which is the best investment for a healthy and prosperous future for our state.


Paula Allen-Meares