NIU loses money in student income, mandatory waivers
DeKALB – Every year, the operation of a university leads to an increase in costs; another set of costs is unfunded mandates.
“If you go back and look at where state funding was, say around 2000 compared to where it is, today it has declined significantly,” Chief of Staff Matt said. Streb.
If you add the value of exemptions and tuition fees, the mandatory exemption program costs the university around $ 4 million, Streb said. (Note: $ 4 million is the total for fiscal 2020)
The report, in the “Value of waivers” section, indicates the total value – in thousands – of all waivers in that category.
“We support the programs a lot, but as you can see this has a financial impact on our budget,” Streb said.
Sarah Chinniah, vice president and chief financial officer, would not say that the NIU is funding these waivers; on the contrary, NIU simply does not plan to generate income for these 770 students. (Note: 770 is only for FY20)
“Traditionally, when students come in, there is tuition income or scholarship income or there is something in place that supports their time here,” Chinniah said.
However, this is not the case with these mandatory waivers because there has been a history with these programs. NIU expects not to receive any income associated with these students. NIU must reconcile what this predicted revenue loss means for NIU-hosted programs, Chinniah said.
“This is something that we are just planning on setting up for the year,” she said.
These waivers cover children placed under the Department of Child and Family Services scholarship program, veterans, children of employees, ROTC students and students pursuing special education, and individuals elderly.
“These are not the university’s only unfunded mandates,” Streb said. “There are all kinds of things that the (Illinois) legislature is putting into play properly and not giving us implementation funding.”
NIU supports a large number of programs offered by the state legislature. Streb thinks the problem is that since these programs are unfunded, NIU has to ask: how do these costs fit into its own budget? How to cover the costs of these programs?
Neither Streb nor Chinniah know when the university lost funding for each of these programs.
“I think the most recent was scholarships or tuition waivers for students who might have gone through the Illinois host system,” Chinniah said. The legislative record goes in this direction. The act in the Compiled Illinois Statutes was adopted in 2014.
A good example of university-supported programs is the recently passed bill requiring the use of tampons and other menstrual products. toilets on campus. The money does not come from the state, so they have to figure out where the money is coming from. NIU supports the mandates, but Streb wants the state to help with the cost.
Streb said NIU does not try to secure funding for specific programs, such as the DCFS scholarship, but rather tries to increase education funding for the university in general.
“We say higher education is a great investment and we need more resources to make sure that we give our students an exceptional education,” Streb said.
On the Board of directors Tuition fee and fee exemption report, there is a section for the General Assembly scholarship, but this program was discontinued a few years ago. It was controversial to have a program where a representative could select a student to give a scholarship to, Streb said.
“That’s why he’s at zero,” Streb said. “Probably shouldn’t be in the category (in the report) anymore because, as far as I know, the program does not exist. Streb is not sure why children of employees are even listed in the discretionary waivers section, as this is a mandatory waiver and the value is zero. There is no real reason to include it in this report.