Students are not the only ones preparing to bid adieu to Western Illinois University.
Pam Bowman, Director of Human Resources, said the university averages 77 retirements per year. But she said approximately 142 employees are retiring before the end of June this year.
“Approximately 77 Civil Service, 20 administrators, and 45 faculty,” Bowman said.
While some are stepping aside because of their age or years of service, others chose to leave because of concerns over their retirement payout.
“There are two formulas that SURS (the State University Retirement System) uses to calculate an annuity. One is called the general formula. The other is the money purchase,” said Bill Rupert, Deputy Director of Benefits.
“If you receive the highest benefit under the money purchase formula, it's quite possible that if you retired (for example) in six months from July First that you would receive a reduced benefit.”
He said updates on legislation that could affect state workers and retirees can be found on the SURS website.
Rupert said this is the highest number of retirements he's seen at WIU since he came to the university five years ago.
Though finances are tight for state institutions, WIU has tried to fill vacated positions.
“We hired virtually all open positions last year in Academic Affairs,” said Provost Ken Hawkinson in an e-mail to Tri States Public Radio.
In a separate e-mail, Bowman added, “To my knowledge, there has been no hiring freeze imposed and all requests to fill civil service positions have been processed by our office. There has been a careful examination of all new positions and each of those positions require the President's approval, a practice that began a few years ago.”
Western's fact book said the university has 2,065 employees, which includes full-time and part-time faculty.