Millions unpaid to UI from state

The University of Illinois has received only a small fraction of the $317 million it is owed by the state for this fiscal year and has effectively frozen many open positions.

University spokesman Tom Hardy says the state’s government has paid the school only $400,000 so far as it wrestles with a budget deficit.

Hardy says open positions that normally would have quickly been filled now require approval from a high-ranking administrator.

Outgoing university President B. Joseph White says furloughs are becoming an increasingly likely possibility for employees. The university set up a plan last summer to furlough workers if needed.

Randy Kangas, the University’s associate vice president of planning and budget, said no one could have foreseen the magnitude of the recession the public and University is facing.

“This downturn, the ‘great recession’ as some have called it, is one of the biggest since World War II,” Kangas explained in a phone interview. “The recession of course hurts the state, and so the money flow is slow to us. Pretty much since December, we’ve seen everything slow down.

“The University has tuition revenues and a few other mechanisms to help the state when this kind of slow down occurs; but like I said, no one could have foreseen a magnitude this large.”

Kangas said there is no way to know when the money will be coming from the state.

“National numbers have been moving out of the recession, but in the past you can see that state revenues have often been slow in, and out of recessions,” Kangas explained. “While the economy might be picking up, it will be awhile before we see decent improvement.

“Typically when we send a voucher to the state to get refunded, we get our money in 30 to 60 days. July 1, we submitted a voucher for millions, and so far have only received about $400,000. Everyone just needs to be prepared to holdback on their budget. As far as when we’ll get the money, the honest answer is, I don’t know.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report