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|Universitites Aren't Pleased About Prospect of Borrowing Money
|Illinois public universities may soon have borrowing power, but they're not happy about it. The Illinois House and Senate passed a measure to allow universities the authority to borrow money, because the state has a backlog of unpaid bills to those institutions. Currently, only elementary and secondary school districts and community colleges can borrow.
Illinois owes state universities more than $700 million. Under the bill, universities could borrow up to 75 percent of the amount the states owes them for Fiscal Year 2010. As of Wednesday, here is what the state owes:
* Chicago State University $13.4 million
* Eastern Illinois University $21.7 million
* Governors State University $7.1 million
* Northeastern Illinois University $14.1 million
* Western Illinois University $19.5 million
* Illinois State University $38.6 million
* Northern Illinois University $43.1 million
* Southern Illinois University $103.2 million
* University of Illinois $375.8 million
The measure also requires the board of trustees at each institution approve the borrowing. After a plan is established, the universities would also have to submit a report about the amount borrowed and the repayment plan to the governor's office and to the four legislative leaders. The bill expires in three years.
President of Northern Illinois University John Peters is not a fan of the bill. His communications director, Brad Hoey, says Peters would recommend borrowing only as a last resort, and hopes he does not have to use the power.
Leaders of universities across the state share that mentality. Western Illinois University President Al Goldfarb says he reluctantly supported the bill, but will use it only if necessary. Eastern Illinois University President William Perry says borrowing is only one piece of the puzzle to help free up cash flow for universities.
Aside from late payments in Fiscal Year 2010, all state universities are facing budget cuts in the proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The total cuts are more than $87 million to higher education.
S.B. 642 now heads to the governor's desk. He is expected to sign it soon.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|05 13 10 by Newsroom
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