From AP - News Headlines -

U of I Administrators and Students Talk Budget Woes at Town Hall Style Meeting

U of I students at a sometimes contentious town-hall-style meeting on the Urbana campus Monday night accused administrators of not doing enough to bring the school through the current financial crisis.

Students from the GEO --- the union representing grad students on campus --- and the Undergraduate Graduate Alliance told administrators at the meeting they weren't doing enough to lobby lawmakers to pass an income tax hike to fund higher education.

Administrators, including Associate Provost for Budget and Resource Planning Michael Andrechak, said the administration was fighting hard for the U of I's survival --- but the state's fiscal problems are a big challenge.

"The state's economic situation is absolutely catastrophic", said Andrechak. "A tax increase is needed. It's very unlikely that one will occur prior to the election."

GEO incoming co-president Stephanie Sewall says the university has to increase the pressure on lawmakers. She says an expected tuition hike will prevent more students from attending the U of I.

"I wasn't convinced that fundamentally, preserving accessibility to public education is reflected in the decisions that are being made", said Sewall. "And more work has to be done on that."

Students at the meeting talked about the likelihood of 10 to 20 percent tuition hikes. But U of I interim president Stanley Ikenberry said earlier this month he believes the next tuition increase will be under 10 percent.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics