Professors and student workers are exempt from the new federal overtime rules. But Illinois' downstate universities are still bracing for possibly millions of dollars in new costs.

Illinois State University says new overtime rules could cost as much as $2 million. Eastern Illinois University says their price tag is $725,000.

The University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University don't have cost estimates because they say they don't know how many workers will be paid overtime and how many will see their hours cut.

Click here for summary

The new rules mean anyone making under $47,476 must be paid when they work over 40-hours a week.

Temple University professor Doug Webber said the economic reality of the new overtime changes are stark for universities. "This is Econ 101," he explained. "When you're forcing people to pay more, it's going to result in some fewer jobs."

Webber said universities across the country are going to be hit hard by the new overtime rules. But he said Illinois' universities will be especially hard hit.

"Those places that are pushed up against the (state) budget. They're going to have these new overtime regulations. And they're going to have to make major changes to accomodate these new rules," Webber said.

Webber added that private businesses can better handle the costs because of the flexibility of the free market. He said universities don't have that flexibility and could have trouble swallowing the new costs.

(Copyright WBGZ /