Legislators approve largest appropriation for U of I System since 2001

Springfield, IL Capitol Building

The Illinois General Assembly on Saturday approved a budget for fiscal year 2020 that would provide the U of I System its largest appropriation in almost two decades.

The budget, which was sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature, would increase the U of I System’s appropriation by nearly 5%, or $27.4 million, to $622 million for the fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“We are pleased by the strong support for the University of Illinois System and public higher education across the state in the fiscal year 2020 budget approved by the Illinois legislature and sent to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law,” University System leaders wrote in an email to university community June 1. “It would be our largest year-to-year increase since fiscal 2001.”

The budget also includes capital funding for university construction projects, including re-appropriations for the Advanced Chemical Technology Building at UIC and development of the Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network.

It also includes $451 million statewide for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), up $50 million — 12.5% — from the current fiscal year, and an additional $10 million for a state scholarship program that encourages in-state students to attend colleges in Illinois.

A $45 billion public works construction program approved by the Senate would provide $686 million to fund capital improvements at all three universities, including a computer design research and learning center for UIC’s College of Engineering.

“The state’s investment will help continue the rise of a premier university system that has seen enrollment grow to record highs for six straight years, transforming the lives of more students and building on the pipeline of talent that is critical to Illinois’ future,” University System leaders wrote. “It will support access and affordability initiatives that include a five-year, in-state tuition freeze, as well as ongoing efforts to recruit and retain world-class faculty, and expand programs and facilities that are cornerstones of our standing as a global leader in education and research discovery.

“Our success in this spring’s legislative session is the byproduct of a true team effort and we are grateful to everyone across the system who stepped up to advocate on our behalf.”