Saturday, March 25, 2017

How Do You Cut Millions in Expenses at Illinois Universities? Fire a Few $10.50 an hour Student Workers

Why Spread the Pain When You Can Direct It to Students

Higher education for state supported universities is in crisis in this nation as Republicans have taken control of more and more state governments.  But in Illinois it is a horrific disaster because government is split between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature.  Here is the result.

With the budget stalemate in Illinois in its 21st month, public universities in the state are going beyond belt-tightening to deal with a funding drought that has no end in sight.

Campuses already have pressed pause on new construction and stopped hiring for vacant positions. Now, universities including Northeastern Illinois, Governors State and Southern Illinois are looking to fixes like hiking tuition, cutting academic programs or laying off student workers.

“We are in a crisis situation,” said Beth Purvis, the state’s education secretary. “The next set of cuts will affect outcomes for our postsecondary students.”

So what to do? Well how about going after the least amount of savings in a way that affects the hardest working students.

The Chicago school must cut $8.2 million to meet payroll through June. It will temporarily lay off 300 student workers during spring break and force about 1,100 employees to take a total of eight furlough days in an effort to save $2.8 million.

Amy Sticha, a biology major who works about 20 hours a week in a lab on campus, has been putting in applications at area bars and restaurants, and even at a bike tour company, in case her campus job falls through altogether.

“I have no idea if I will still have a job a month from now, and I’d like to have a backup,” said Ms. Sticha, who earns $10.50 an hour at the lab, which she says covers a big part of her rent and tuition.

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