The Illinois Board of Higher Education warns university infrastructure continues to deteriorate, and continuing state budget cuts will exacerbate the problem. George Reid, the board’s executive director, went before state lawmakers to request more money for deferred maintenance projects on campuses statewide -- $340 million more to be exact.
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“We do have an emergency situation,” he says. “What has happened on most campuses is that the presidents have taken some money from tuition and other reservoirs of resources to keep campuses patched up.” Reid also suggested lawmakers beef up the Monetary Award Program, or MAP, to allow more under-privileged students to attend college. University presidents are also testifying before lawmakers this month, making their cases for the next fiscal year, and they agree deferred maintenance is a problem.
One such president is Northern Illinois University’s John Peters, who doesn’t see the point of asking for more money when he knows he’s not going to get it. “We have needs,” he explains. “We could always use more money for programs in nursing and faculty salaries, staff salaries, fixing up our deferred maintenance, but the state is in deep financial trouble.” Peters wants a flat budget for Fiscal Year 2013, but he clarifies that the payments must come on time.