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CSU declares financial exigency as accreditation threat issued to all unis

Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

* Press release…

The Board of Trustees at Chicago State University took steps at a special meeting today to officially declare financial exigency and prepare the University to continue operating in the absence of state funding. Like all public universities, CSU enters its eighth month with no funding due to the historic state budget impasse.

“The actions taken by the Board today are meant to give the administration of the University some additional flexibility as it works through this unprecedented situation,” Anthony Young, Chairman of the Board of Trustees said. “Over the past year, this University has made significant cuts to personnel and spending but has reached a tipping point where the ability to function is threatened. I want to be very clear, this action may help the administration manage this crisis in the short term, but exigency is by no means a solution to our budget woes. The only real solution is for the Governor and the leaders to come together and provide the necessary funding to avoid further damage to our universities.”

In declaring financial exigency, the Board is officially recognizing that the unforeseen fiscal situation compels CSU to reevaluate all programs, services and organizational structures in order to fulfill its core mission and to complete the current semester. In addition to declaring exigency, the Board established a Management Action Committee, which is chaired by the President of the University and includes senior members of the administration, who will continue the ongoing task of thoroughly reviewing all aspects of University spending and make recommendations on where additional cost saving measurers can be found. Lastly, the Board created an Advisory Committee, which will have faculty, staff and student representation and will give input to the Management Action Committee.

“We find ourselves in this unprecedented situation because, while the state has not honored its commitment to our students, we still intend to do so,” Thomas Calhoun Jr., CSU President said. “We are committed to finishing this semester and to graduating our seniors, and in order to accomplish that goal in the absence of state dollars or MAP grant funding, we are forced to take these extraordinary measures. I would hope the necessary but unfortunate steps we are taking here today will help all elected officials who represent public universities and care about higher education recognize that this is not just a Chicago State problem, it can and will affect the entire public university system. On behalf of our students who have bravely and proudly stood at the front lines of this crisis and fought for their university, I once again call on the Governor and the leaders of Illinois to put aside your political differences and take necessary action to prevent students from being the victims of this catastrophe.”

* Meanwhile…

February 4, 2016
To: The Honorable Governor Rauner
Senate President Cullerton
Senate Minority Leader Radogno
House Speaker Madigan
House Minority Leader Durkin
Members of the General Assembly

I am writing on behalf of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the regional accrediting agency for nineteen states, including Illinois. HLC is recognized by the United States Department of Education to assure quality in higher education and to serve as the gatekeeper to federal financial aid for students in our region.

As your role in Illinois includes consequential decisions regarding the governance and funding for colleges and universities, I am notifying you of the potential accreditation outcomes that may result from not approving a budget that will provide funding to Illinois colleges and universities and their students.

A criterion for accreditation is demonstration of the availability of financial, physical, and human resources necessary to provide quality higher education. HLC is aware that the colleges and universities in Illinois may need to suspend operations because financial resources from the state are not available. HLC is obligated to move swiftly to protect Illinois students and to ensure the quality of the colleges and universities they attend.

Following federal regulations, HLC has notified all Illinois colleges and universities that if they believe they will have to suspend operations or close in the next several months, they must provide HLC with a plan for how students can continue at another college or university to avoid eliminating their access to higher education. For students to continue at another institution, it could mean having to transfer to private universities or leave the state. It is also probable some students may drop out of college. The plan also must explain how students will be informed about this urgent situation, including how they access transcripts if operations have been suspended due to lack of state funding.

HLC’s analysis of that plan about the college or university’s viability in the weeks ahead could result in 1) a review of the college or university’s compliance with HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, 2) a sanction – in which the college or university would have two years or fewer to demonstrate corrective action, or 3) withdrawal of accreditation. After such a withdrawal, there is a multi-year process for institutions to regain status with an accrediting agency. Students attending institutions that do not have status with an accrediting agency recognized by the federal government cannot access federal financial aid.

I served as a college president at two institutions in Ohio and know it is critical for state leadership to have every fact and potential outcome available. The lack of state funding is putting Illinois colleges and universities at serious risk and jeopardizing the future of students. I recognize the pain of budget shortfalls, especially in our home state of Illinois. The economic challenges the state faces are significant, and difficult decisions undoubtedly must be made. I am writing because I believe it is important for you to have all the relevant information before making the tough decisions that fall to your positions.

As you struggle with these difficult and life-changing decisions, if you have questions about the role of accreditation, please contact me.

Barbara Gellman-Danley, Ph.D.
President, Higher Learning Commission

Emphasis in original.

…Adding… From the IBHE…

Statement from Dr. James Applegate, Executive Director

“The IBHE has been informed by Chicago State University that the Board of Trustees have declared financial exigency. They are taking steps to mitigate the financial situation on their campus in order to address the needs of their students, faculty, and staff.

The Board of Higher Education is keenly aware of the uncertainty the lack of a Fiscal Year 2016 budget is creating for Illinois college students, professors and staff at all of Illinois’ 48 community colleges and twelve public universities.

While IBHE has no direct role or authority in overseeing the actions of the CSU Trustees, we extend our support to the campus leaders as they seek to minimize the impact on their students’ academic progress.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - CCP Hostage - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:09 pm:

    I gotta beat Oswego Willy to it. Governors own.

  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:24 pm:


    Not just the working class families from Senator Sandoval’s district, but the affluent families from Rep. Sandack’s district could lose their financial aid.

    What, no tweet about the short term pain being worth it?

  3. - Vandalia - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:30 pm:

    Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse. I’m afraid we are in for a lot more bad news like this in the near future.

  4. - Because I said so..... - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:37 pm:

    CSU is just the first. Other universities will tumble soon as well. Great message the governor is sending to students…the temporary pain will be with it. Translation, I just don’t care.

  5. - PENSIONS ARE OFF LIMITS - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:39 pm:

    Madigan, and the accrediting agencies he controls.

  6. - sal-says - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:48 pm:

    How does raunner look in the mirror every day knowing what he’s wraught?

    Oh, that’s right, he spent his whole life doing this.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:52 pm:

    If you’re an Illinois high school student considering colleges, why would in-state schools be at the top of your list right now?

    They can’t be. You might have to settle, but the state has put it’s money its mouth is regarding its commitment to higher education.

  8. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:53 pm:

    Madigan and Cullerton should sit back and tell Rauner to fix it.

    No union busting. Just fix it.

  9. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:54 pm:

    YDD, how do affluent families get financial aid?

    Asking for a friend.

  10. - illinois manufacturer - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:55 pm:

    All public and private. This isnt a game this is a threat to peoples lives

  11. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:56 pm:

    BTW — Radogno — maybe this just winnows out the bad universities, right? Like how this is just squeezing out the bad social service agencies.

    Better they’re forced out like this. Survival of the fittest. Right, Chris? Rock on. I’m sure you’ll gain votes with this.

  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:57 pm:

    So to recap:

    Mighty fine state you got there. Sure would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

  13. - burbanite - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:58 pm:

    Does he read this correspondence?

    Legislatures on both sides of the aisle need to stand in unity and say enough and stop this because the execuive branch won’t, its intentional and unconscionable.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:58 pm:

    If you wavy to know how Raunerotes “feel” about this…

    - YDD - knows, anyone paying attention knows…

    @RonSandack: I’m frustrated 2, but taking steps towards reforming IL more important than short term budget stalemate. - Ron Sandack, 9/28/15

    Ron Sandack and Raunerites just don’t care

  15. - burbanite - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:58 pm:

    Legislators. oops

  16. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:06 pm:

    When is Rauner going to say it?

    It’s either collective bargaining or universities. Lay down the gauntlet, Bruce. For cripes sake.

    You’re slinking along like some ineffective, shy kid. Just say it. Say what you’ve been meaning to do for 2 years now.

    Collective bargaining or universities.

    Collective bargaining or social services.

    Just say it.

  17. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:10 pm:

    This is just disgusting! Rauner is burning this state down with his political willfulness. & Chicago is up in flames, too. The brightest students will go elsewhere & probably never come back to IL.

  18. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:12 pm:

    ===how do affluent families get financial aid?===

    Get a 32 or higher on your ACT, be Valedictorian of your high school class, that sort of thing. Lots of colleges pay top dollar for high performing students, regardless of need.

  19. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:19 pm:

    Maybe if U of I agrees to take LABOR out of its motto Bruce can agree to fund public higher education in this state before all of us alums of Illinois universities see our diplomas good for nothing but kindling?

  20. - I'm part of the problem - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:25 pm:

    I have to admit it, I fell for this Governors nonsense, it wasn’t hard I’m more conservative in general, but none of this is about being Republican, conservative or any of his nonsense about making Illinois great, it’s purely about fulfilling some personal vendetta. While I freely and apologetically admit the errors of my ways, I won’t make the same mistake again, I just hope it’s not too late.

  21. - illinois manufacturer - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:25 pm:

    Should CSU and EIU close this semester or next I doubt they ever open again. I Also wonder if any of the private schools close. Thousands of jobs lost. Thousands of lives disrupted and for what.

  22. - cdog - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:27 pm:

    The HLC needs to move up the media food chain. Front and center folks.

    So, here we are today, among many fabulously shaken things, with our universities getting warned about being discredited, and a $3.5billion bill backlog magically turning into $12 billion.

    This TA pipe dream is really affecting Illinois in a terrible way.

  23. - Macbeth - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:40 pm:

    Thousands of lives disrupted and for what

    The end of collective bargaining in Illinois.

  24. - Columbo - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 8:46 pm:

    I’ve spent the better part of my higher education career wondering if an accrediting body might shut CSU down, but give Rauner credit, he may have just figured out a way for them to be CSU’s savior. It just keeps getting more weird.

  25. - Just Sayin ... - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 9:04 pm:

    Hey Rauner has a mandate from the electorate, he did get .27 over 50% of those voting. He can do what ever he wants.

  26. - Hard-working Art Student - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 9:09 pm:

    Hi, short time reader first time commenter. I’m currently a student at NEIU and seeing what the lack of a state budget is doing to all of the state universities and my school in particular is excrutiating. I’m a nontraditional student and have worked hard to get as far as I have. I work, pay half my tuition out of pocket and am a year and a half away from graduating. So far I’ve been lucky, I have friends who’ve had to dropout at other schools because their MAP grants fell through. I started following this blog because I wanted to know what was going on that the papers (Sun Times, Tribune) wasn’t covering. I live in Chicago and you would be surprised at the number of people unaware of what’s going on in Springfield. This whole situation just leaves me feeling very frustrated and hopeless.

  27. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 9:21 pm:

    There is no more important mission for a state than to provide quality, affordable education at all levels. The state colleges and universities are on the brink. As others have said, high school students and their parents can see what is happening and are going elsewhere…making survival even tougher.

    This collapse will not be fixed quickly or easily or maybe ever. I am appalled at what is happening.

    To quote Joseph Webb in the McCarthy hearings:

    “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

  28. - ash - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 9:22 pm:

    “Madigan, and the accrediting agencies he controls.”
    Now he holds sway over out of state bodies monitoring universities for nineteen states?? Wow…

  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 9:23 pm:

    - Hard-working Art Student -

    Good on you to look to find this blog avd be interested enough to read and now comment.

    To your comment,

    Keep reading, keep learning, and as frustrated as you are, you aren’t alone, and especially not alone here.

    MAP being held hostage by Gov. Rauner and the governor not funding state universities is something governors don’t do, especially for agendas. Be vocal, be vigilant and be persistent in looking for answers as to the why, right now, we all find ourselves on this mess made by design.

    Know the Raunerites, they are trying to infiltrate both parties and vote accordingly. Call your legislator(s) and don’t decide it’s over. March 15th is just the very, very beginning.

    Rep commenting too. Welcome.


  30. - Columbo - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 9:51 pm:

    For most of my career in higher education, I wondered if an accrediting body would ever try to shut CSU down. But give Rauner and his crew credit, they have managed to potentially make an accrediting body CSU’s savior. Just gets more weird.

  31. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 10:02 pm:

    Rauner is good at pretending that the budget situation is just an academic exercise, that real people aren’t suffering real consequences. The information in this post shows that things are really really real now.

    What gets me is the way that our usually moderate Republican legislators have lined up behind Rauner’s extremism. Radogno should be ashamed of herself, in particular.

  32. - Xavier Woods - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 10:15 pm:

    Just another day of Rauner not caring about anything. He. Does. Not. Care.

  33. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 10:22 pm:

    “hind site”

    no one else caught this?

  34. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 10:22 pm:

    @FakeBruceRauner The only people who should go to college are the ones whose parents can buy their way into Dartmouth

  35. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 10:45 pm:

    47, thanks. I was having a brain cramp.

    Hard working, I’ll second OW’s comments. Many of us old-timers here are alums and/or parents of current students at the State colleges and universities (in my case both) and are infuriated about the pounding they are taking right low. Maybe this latest news will be the point of inflection that will get this mess “turned around,” if you will.

    PS: Columbo +1

  36. - Mama - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 11:18 pm:

    Vandalia @7:30 “Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse. I’m afraid we are in for a lot more bad news like this in the near future.”
    It will get a lot worse before it is over. It is a long ways from being over.

  37. - Mama - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 11:34 pm:

    Hard-working Art Student @ 9:09 pm:
    1.“I live in Chicago and you would be surprised at the number of people unaware of what’s going on in Springfield.” (Oh I believe it! Even people in Springfield don’t know what is going on.) 2. “This whole situation just leaves me feeling very frustrated and hopeless.” (The AFSCME members feel the same way. Many Social Service providers have had to close their doors due to the lack of a state budget.)

  38. - Mama - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 11:40 pm:

    - burbanite - Thursday, Feb 4, 16 @ 7:58 pm:

    Does he read this correspondence? (I doubt it.)

    Legislatures on both sides of the aisle need to stand in unity and say enough and stop this because the executive branch won’t, its intentional and unconscionable. (I agree. You can call your State Senator & Representative & tell them what they need to do.)

  39. - Lt. Guv. - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 12:14 am:

    and Nero fiddles. . .

  40. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 12:32 am:

    Things are tough all over. Not only does Rahm have to deal with the Chicago Public Schools, but now his crony at the City Colleges is under attack too:

  41. - Anon221 - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 5:08 am:


    The Superstars tell Rauner about the latest developments in the Crisis Creation Mission.

    Rauner sits back, temples his fingers, smiles , and says, “bring on the pain.”

    End scene.
    To the members of the Illinois General Assembly who covet yellow- is the pain getting through to you yet?!?

  42. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 6:52 am:

    Coming soon to a college or university near you.

  43. - burbanite - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 7:04 am:

    I have Mama I have.

    Anon 12:32, I don’t care how tough things are for any politician, b/c they will be fine. Blame game is non productive. This is about Hard Working Art Student and all the other “kids”, this is about the loss of critical early intervention etc. And this is about an uninformed electorate that needs to be informed beyond buzz words and sound bites.

  44. - AC - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 7:52 am:

    Public universities are for states that care about upward mobility and providing a path to the middle class for students that are willing to put in the work, and for stares that want a well trained workforce, apparently not Illinois. (What’s the tag for “I wish this were snark”?)

  45. - EduMama - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 7:54 am:

    Rauner doesn’t care because there is no consequence to him. Rauner isn’t saying ‘bring on the pain.” He knows the regular joe is feeling pain but he isn’t. He feels no pain from this and until he does he won’t budge.

  46. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 7:54 am:

    The federal aid isn’t just grants for low income students, it is also federal subsidized and un-subsidized loans for all students as well as aid programs for veterans and other specialized aid programs.

  47. - AC - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 7:55 am:

    Meant to say “for states that want a well trained workforce”.

  48. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:06 am:

    Why does IBHE even exist?

  49. - Frenchie Mendoza - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:08 am:

    Is all this the reason that Brady was pushing a bill privatize state universities last year?

    Is that where this is going?

  50. - Henry Francis - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:29 am:

    From today’s trib article

    “Our priority should be our education. It’s our kids’ future, it’s our economic competitiveness, it’s the basis for rising family incomes. Money should go to schools first, I’ve said that from day one.”

    -Governor Rauner.

    “Our priority”. “Money should go to schools first”

  51. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:31 am:

    This is not snark…. What all the university heads need to do is get together and essentially form a union to collectively bargain. They all need to say we need our funding, as well as the past funding that we never got, or we will be ceasing all operations July 1. There is no other way to get the governor and house republicans to actually do their job.

  52. - Frenchie Mendoza - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:40 am:

    Clearly, this is the wedge: should money go to schools? or should money go to public employees and teachers?

    This is the wedge. He’s talked about this for years. What’s curious is that he’s not saying that “this is the choice: schools or unions”.

    Are we supposed to infer this? Are we supposed to say, okay, I see what’s going on - he’s driving a wedge.

    Low information voters need things made explicit.

    “What I’m doing is allowing folks to choose: schools and social services or unions.”

  53. - Horse w/ no name - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:44 am:

    A universiry declares crisis, accrediting body declare crisis, IBHE declares it exists. Why is this useless agency even necessary? How much of thier budget could help CSU students?

  54. - Dr X - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:48 am:

    Dear students:

    Get a job.


    Donna Arduin

  55. - Secret Square - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 8:55 am:

    Has the Board of Higher Learning or its predecessor (the North Central Assn.) ever taken this kind of action before? I’ve never heard of an entire state university system being threatened with de-accreditation, but maybe there’s a precedent somewhere I don’t know about.

  56. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 9:30 am:

    For all the financial problems that state universities are having, the state should take them over…oh wait, nevermind

  57. - anonymous - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 9:41 am:

    Horse w/ no name

    === IBHE declares it exists. Why is this useless agency even necessary? How much of thier budget could help CSU students?===

    They “don’t” have a budget, remember? They are apparently unaware of that fact though. Talk about administrative ‘bloat’

  58. - Unicorn - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 10:18 am:

    ===how do affluent families get financial aid?===

    This would include all federal non-need-based loans.

  59. - jerry 101 - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    Heckuva job, Brucie!

  60. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 5, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    –For all the financial problems that state universities are having, the state should take them over…oh wait, nevermind–

    Comment of the year, to date.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* DuPage tourism study emphasises working together
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* Don’t be a Ghoul, Don’t Drink and Drive - Police throughout Illinois step up patrols for Halloween weekend
* Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and State flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Saturday, October 29, 2016 until Sunset, Monday, October 31, 2016.
* 25th Annual HIV/STD Conference - Celebrating Success, Shaping the Future - Sexually Transmitted Diseases increase while HIV decreases
* Workers’ Comp Commission Updates Technology at No Cost to Taxpayer - Another step in Rauner Administration’s modernization of state government
* Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Makes Lead Poisoning Prevention A Priority - October 23-30, 2016 - National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

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