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State universities, community colleges expect more budget cuts

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- As Governor JB Pritzker and his administration work to present a budget proposal in February, higher education is preparing to feel the pinch.

Illinois is $3.9 billion in the hole, and state universities and community colleges are facing cuts of up to 6.5 percent. The change would likely mean downsizing staff and programming.

John Jackson, who is a visiting professor at the Paul Simon Institute at SIU, weighs in on the potential impacts.

He says budgets for higher education are already tight and the state cannot recover its deficit off of cuts to them alone.

"If you took back, say 10-percent of what we have, it would be somewhere along about $150 million," explains Jackson. "We need $3.9 billion; so, this can't be done with these small cuts to the small parts of the budget."

Jackson adds the impacts are more than financial as students and faculty members are caught in the crossfire.

For example, Officials at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg will vote in two weeks on the proposed elimination of three on-campus courses.

The college cites low enrollment and state underfunding as causes.

Joe Rehana

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