News Local/State

U Of I Gives Easter Bonus, Raise


Trustees at the University of Illinois Thursday approved a $5.6 billion budget. 

Meeting in Urbana on Thursday, officials said it is the smallest budget increase in a decade, and comes as the university grapples with a number of financial challenges, including limited state funding, and higher health care and pension costs. 

University President Robert Easter said the U of I also must prepare for the ongoing effects of the federal sequester, which he said are making it tougher to get grants for research. 

“Well, I think the way you prepare for it is have faculty who are increasingly competitive,” Easter said. “The dollars are still there. It just means that we have to do a better job of making the case that they should come to Illinois and not go to some other institution.”

Officials say the direct state appropriation for the University of Illinois increased slightly by $1.2 million for fiscal year 2014 to about $669 million. However they point out that the figure is down from a peak $804 million in fiscal year 2002.

During the meeting, the board also approved a $90,000 bonus and pay raise for Easter, which Board Chair Chris Kennedy said was based on Easter’s job performance.

“Universities and other institutions have rewarded people for simply sticking around, and this ties the president’s compensation to performance for the first time,” Kennedy said. “ I’m not aware of another state institution that does that, and I think it ought to be the wave of the future.”

Easter’s base pay will go up the same percentage as most university employees, which brings his salary to just over $462,000 a year.

WILL is licensed to the University of Illinois.