EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. (KMOX) updated at 5:30 p.m. – The Illinois Comptroller warns the state university system could fall apart, unless Governor Bruce Rauner stops refusing to support a state budget. Comptroller Susana Mendoza spoke with campus administrators at SIU-Edwardsville, telling them the state has had six credit downgrades and owes $13 billion in unpaid bills.

SIU-Edwardsville says it will remain open next year, despite Mendoza’s warning. Chancellor Randy Pembrook was asked about the warning from Comptroller Susana Mendoza that SIU-E students might have to go someplace else.

“That’s not true,” Pembrook says. “We are certainly not closing the doors. We are not having furloughs here. The last two years have seen the first and second largest classes that we’ve ever had.”

“It’s unsustainable,” Mendoza says. “At some point the entire university system will collapse. They’re probably going to have to look for another university to go to, and it’s not going to be in Illinois.”

Mendoza challenged teachers and administrators to not be quiet, to let their lawmakers and the governor know they want a state budget.

“There’s only so far that they can go without getting state funding, so maybe even if they don’t close their doors they’d have to eliminate a whole series of programs and even colleges within the university. We’ve already seen other universities do that,” she says.

Pembrook says SIU-E relies on the state for about 22 percent of its annual budget, or $60 million out of $270 million. He says the campus could face some belt tightening if the state continues without a budget, but SIU-E is not going away.

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