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Thank you!

The state passed a FY18 budget last week, and Northeastern Illinois University can finally — after more than two years — refocus its efforts from survival to building and enhancing an exceptional environment for its students. While I thank all those in Springfield who worked in a bipartisan way to support public higher education, I am mostly grateful to you — our alumni and friends — for hanging in there. You did it. Your advocacy, phone calls, letters, Facebook posts, rallies, media appearances, emails and posters — they all made an impact, and Springfield heard your voices loud and clear.

Because of your hard work, our state now has a budget that provides funding for Northeastern. Here is a breakdown of what we are expecting:

  • Appropriations: Our FY18 appropriation is $33.2 million, a 10 percent reduction from the last full appropriation received in FY15. We also received $17.3 million for the second half of FY17, providing a full-year appropriation when added to the stop gap funding received for the first half of FY17. 
  • MAP funding: The state provided full Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding for FY17 and a 10 percent increase for FY18.

This much-needed funding provides us a level of security that we have not had in more than two years. It also helps to eliminate some of the uncertainty that we had been operating under and allows us to strategically plan for the next year. 

While we are grateful for the money, it does not make us whole for FY16, for example, and it does not repair the reputational and operational damage done to our institution as a result of the budget impasse. Even with a FY18 budget, we will still be further behind than we were the last time we had a full appropriation from the state in FY15. Additionally, new costs have been passed on to universities that we are now evaluating. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.

But let me get back to the real point of this letter. Let me once again express my deepest gratitude to all of your for your support and confidence during the past two years. We have been tested by adversity, and we have affirmed the strength of Northeastern Illinois University during these extremely difficult times. Never have we failed our Mission even during times of crisis, and we appreciate your dedication and perseverance.

Thank you.

Richard J. Helldobler
Interim President
Northeastern Illinois University

Alumni Advocacy Resources


Northeastern Illinois University’s fight for funding and public higher education WHY FIGHT FOR PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION?

Find Your Legislator

Access to Opportunity

Northeastern is a pathway to an excellent and affordable education. For the third year in a row, U.S. News & World Report announced that Northeastern had earned the No. 1 spot for students who graduate with the least amount of debt among Midwest regional universities. Did you know that a recent Economic Policy Institute study found that high-wage states are those with a highly educated workforce? Also, according to a 2014 U.S. Department of Labor report, workers with a bachelor’s degree earn 65 percent more than workers with a high school diploma. The earnings gap is nearly double for workers with a master’s degree and almost 140 percent more for workers with doctoral or professional degrees. NEIU values access to a life-changing degree.

Economic Impact 

Public universities in Illinois enroll nearly 200,000 students and send about 50,000 graduates into the workforce every year. At Northeastern, our alumni base is nearly 80,000, and 65,000 are living in the state of Illinois. Universities leverage state support by attracting more than $1.2 billion in external funding that supports the state’s economy today and fosters groundbreaking, research-based innovation that creates the new businesses and jobs of tomorrow. NEIU alumni contribute a large and positive economic impact to the state of Illinois.


This year and last year, Illinois public universities have received only a fraction of the state support we depend on. We are weathering the most difficult financial crisis in our 150-year history due to the ongoing Illinois state budget impasse. State appropriations for public higher education operations have decreased over the past 15 years.

Find Your Legislator 

Contact your elected officials about the key role that higher education plays in meeting future workforce demands and the importance of keeping a college education affordable. Calling is always the most effective method.


Volunteer with the Alumni Association. Be a mentor. Offer an internship. Stay connected. Be inspired. If you haven’t already, sign up for our e-newsletters. And above all, come visit! Our students and faculty are outstanding, and want to get to know you.

Give Back

With inconsistent and decreasing state support, your donations are essential to student success. Donations to Northeastern’s Leader Fund provides help where the need is the greatest across the University.

With your support, We WILL win this fight and overcome the state budget impasse. Show your NEIU pride today and take action!

Read more "Illinois Public Universities: Investing in Illinois' Future"

Follow recent news stories and events covering the current State of Illinois budget crisis and its impact on Illinois Public Higher Education. 


More NEIU News

Northeastern Illinois University
Alumni Serving as Elected Officials as of February 2017

U.S. Congress

The Honorable Luis V. Gutierrez (D-4th District), B.A. 1976 
United States House of Representatives
3210 W. North Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60647

Illinois General Assembly 

*The Honorable Pamela J. Althoff (R-32nd District), M.A. 1978 
Illinois State Senator
One North Virginia Street
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014

*The Honorable Iris Y. Martinez (D-20th District), B.A. 2009 
Illinois State Senator
2845 N. Kedzie Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60618

*The Honorable Sara K. Feigenholtz (D-12th District), B.A. 1978 
Illinois State House of Representatives
1051 W. Belmont Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60657

The Honorable Laura Fine (D-17th District), M.A. 1999
Illinois State House of Representatives
1812 Waukegan Road, Suite A
Glenview, Illinois 60025

The Honorable Elizabeth Hernandez (D-24th District), B.A. 2015
Illinois State House of Representatives 
2137 S. Lombard Avenue, Ste. 205
Cicero, Illinois 60804 

The Honorable Cynthia Soto (D-4th District), B.A. 2013 
Illinois State House of Representatives 
2615 W. Division Street 
Chicago, Illinois 60622 

Cook County 

The Honorable Karen A. Yarbrough, M.A. 1996 
Cook County Recorder of Deeds
118 N. Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Chicago City council 

The Honorable Walter Burnett, B.A. 1998 
Alderman of the 27th Ward
1463 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622

The Honorable George Cardenas, B.A. 1991 
Alderman of the 12th Ward
2458 W. 38th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60632

*The Honorable Margaret Laurino, B.A. 1974
Alderman of the 39th Ward
4404 W. Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60630

The Honorable Milagros (Milly) Santiago, B.A. 1986  
Alderman of the 31st Ward 
2521 N. Pulaski Road
Chicago, Illinois 60639 

*Leadership appointment


Office of Alumni Relations

T (773) 442-4205

Office of Alumni Relations

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