News Local/State

University of Illinois Prepares $4.45 Billion Budget


University of Illinois administrators are proposing a $4.45 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that ends in June - a 1.2 percent increase.

That's the smallest increase in years. The proposed budget includes an additional $52 million in tuition revenue. The school also expects to get a 0.2 percent increase in state aid.

U of I spokesman Tom Hardy said the spending plan is based on a relatively small tuition increase for incoming students this fall, and an even smaller increase in state funding.

“We’re really in kind of a stable, flat revenue growth period," he said.  "And we’re doing a lot of things in terms of being able to be more efficient, tighten the proverbial belt and do more with about the same, or less, than we’ve had previously.”

Administrators are planning to dole out 2.75 percent raises to faculty and staff members. Those raises will take effect this month.

With little or no increases in state funding or federal research dollars, that means the budget for the 2014 fiscal year is only 1.2 percent higher than the last one. But Hardy said that even though new revenue may be limited,  the U of I is still in strong financial condition.

"As always, with all our budgets, we’re focusing on our core missions," he said.  "And those are teaching, instruction, 77-something-thousand students across three campuses; and research, approximately $800,000 research portfolio that makes us the exceptional institution of higher education that we are."

Vice President for Academic Affairs Christophe Pierre said the U of I is increasingly relying on tuition hikes to meet its financial needs, but that could cause problems because trustees agreed to keep tuition increases from rising dramatically.