Many Illinois Universities Take Credit Hit After Stop-Gap Budget
Higher education was a major victim of Illinois’ year-long budget impasse. That makes it one of the winners in the stopgap spending plan passed this week. But universities aren’t breathing too easily.
University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen expressed gratitude for the compromise, but said more must be done. In an email to students and employees yesterday, he said the U of I will receive roughly 55-percent of what it saw in 2015 – the last year higher education was fully funded.
For a while now, Moody’s credit analysts have been evaluating the finances of Illinois’ nine public universities.
The verdict came Thursday. Downgrades, for most of them.
That was after legislators passed a partial spending plan that will send the universities a collective $655 million.
At the time, Republican Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, praised the compromise.
“It funds all three legs of the higher education stool: four years, community colleges and also MAP grants for students,” he said.
The stopgap will get universities up to 90 percent of what their state funding was the last time Illinois had a complete budget. But that years’ worth of funding has to be spread out over at least 18 months.
Hence, Moody’s says universities “still face a high likelihood” of more funding reductions and delays.
The University of Illinois was not among those downgraded by Moody's, though the three-campus system was downgraded by S&P.