State Funding Cuts Could Hurt UIC Rockford's Rural Pharmacy Program

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Governor Pat Quinn is proposing a lot of educational cuts in this year's budget and one school that may see some of their state funding go away is Rockford's UIC College of Pharmacy. The school says it is concerned about the future of their Rural Pharmacy Program.

Rockford's pharmacy school may be in trouble. If Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's proposed 2014 budget is approved, the school's Rural Pharmacy Program will lose $500,000 which could force the program to shut down.

"I was dismayed that a program like this would be on the chopping block,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Jerry Bauman. “We worked really hard to establish that campus in Rockford."

"The Governor's discussions about closing the pharmacy school in Rockford...that's a big concern,” said state senator Dave Syverson. “We're certainly going to be raising concerns and fighting that issue."

The program has 150 students enrolled in it and some local politicians say they're all potential area pharmacists.

"It's an important program for the state,” says state senator Steve Stadelman. “It addresses a shortage in pharmacists in rural Illinois."

The school says they started the program so students from the region who would normally go out of state to study could come to the Stateline instead.

"It helps diversify Rockford's economy because it attracts students from all over the area,” said Stadelman.

While closing the Rockford pharmacy program is a possibility, Dean Bauman says he'll focusing on keeping it afloat.

"I Can't imagine closing the campus,” says Bauman. “We would do our best to modify it and look hard at our expenses and revenues going forward."

The program is hoping to adding fifty students to its overall enrollment next year, but the cuts could stymie that effort.

The Illinois General Assembly will vote on the governor's proposed budget in the coming weeks.

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