DeKALB – A Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees committee approved a nearly $454 million internal revenue budget for fiscal 2013 Thursday during the first meeting since the spring.
The internal revenue budget approved by the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee, one of three NIU Board of Trustees committees, reflected about $17.6 million more in revenue than the internal budget approved for 2012.
Although NIU expects a 6 percent decrease in state funding, increased revenues are expected in nonappropriated revenues, including about $10 million more in the university income fund, and about $12.7 million more in revenues from gifts, grants and contracts.
During the Legislation, Audit, External Affairs and Compliance Committee, Controller Keith Jackson reviewed a handful of compliance findings that came out of the 2011 audit report. The first finding was for inadequate cash management of NIU Math and Science Partnership grants, which Jackson called “technical noncompliance.”
He said grants are usually 100 percent reimbursed, but that particular series was paid on a quarterly basis, which were larger than monthly expenditures. He said a resolution has already been implemented and the university will not accept that grant with the same language in the future.
Another finding was a weakness in the university’s control over confidential information – a repeat finding that was first discovered in 2009.
“This is a finding all state universities are receiving,” Jackson said. “Even when we’re in compliance, this is going to be a regular outstanding task.”
According to the audit report, the university had not performed its comprehensive risk assessment and had a breach of confidential information when documents – including affidavits with social security numbers and checking account information – were found in a file cabinet deemed as surplus by the university.
Jackson said the university is addressing that audit finding by communicating the university’s policies and procedures with all members of the university.
Two other findings included an inadequate emergency disaster contingency plan and compliance issues with university staff time reporting.
During the same committee meeting, trustees heard an update from Patty Daley of the lobbying firm Daley Policy Group on pending federal legislation that could affect NIU.
She warned that if Congress and President Barrack Obama don’t make changes to a portion of the Budget Control Act of 2011, NIU stands to lose $2.7 million in funding for fiscal 2013. The cuts would hit scientific research, student aid and health care costs the hardest. She said from an advocacy standpoint, the university needs a plan.
“If this legislation moves, what is NIU going to do?” she said. “We have to be able to answer that from a short-term and a long-term perspective.”
She said she expects competition will become more intense as universities try to capture federal funding that’s less available. Lori Clark, director of NIU’s state and federal government relations, said NIU should plan to step up its collaborative efforts with the community.
“It’s the wild, wild west out there,” Clark said about the state of federal funding. “It’s uncharted territory, and it changes daily.”