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Local

NIU signing onto funding bill brought forth by U of I System

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University has signed on to a proposal from the University of Illinois System that seeks to provide predictable state funding for universities in exchange for measurable performance standards.

NIU’s board of trustees unanimously approved to sign on during its Thursday meeting. Acting President Lisa Freeman said the proposed Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment, if approved, will restore stable and dependable state funding for university operations over the next five years.

“This compact between NIU and the state of Illinois is aimed at both restoring financial stability and boosting confidence int he value of an Illinois public university education,” Freeman said in a news release. “We take seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of public funds and we welcome the opportunity to show, in a regular, transparent reporting system, how those investments are paying off.”

Tom Killeen, president of the U of I System, said the legislation, which was introduced in the General Assembly in November 2016, was designed to ensure student success and academic quality in light of the state’s two-year budget impasse. NIU was added to a revised bill that was introduced Thursday.

In return for a fiscal 2019 appropriation of $93 million, NIU would commit to meet a number of performance standards, including half of new freshmen coming from underserved populations and NIU maintaining an overall retention rate in undergraduate programs of at least 75 percent.

NIU would also increase accountability to the state by providing an annual report card on key indicators such as freshman and transfer enrollment, degrees issued and appropriations per undergraduate degree and as a percentage of total spending.

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