State budget allocates 2 percent funding increase for university system

piggy bankGov. Bruce Rauner signed a state budget bill into law June 4 that will provide increased funding for the University of Illinois System.

The fiscal year 2019 budget, which begins July 1, will allocate $594.6 million to the University of Illinois System for the day-to-day operations. The funding is up 2 percent, or $11.6 million, from the fiscal 2018 appropriations and includes the system’s first state capital appropriations since fiscal year 2010.

The second consecutive, full-year budget reflects a return to stability after a historic two-year budget stalemate that ended in 2017, system leaders wrote in an official announcement.

“Now, another year of investment by the state will enable us to continue our strong, positive momentum toward the high-aspiration goals of our Strategic Framework and associated plans,” they added. “We are grateful to legislatures, including our U of I Caucus, for the bipartisan cooperation to forge a budget agreement.”

The new spending plan will allow leaders to extend affordability efforts, such as the four-year, in-state tuition freeze; grow enrollment; recruit world-class faculty; and support groundbreaking initiatives with positive social impacts.

Funding will also help expand facilities for academics and research excellence. System-wide, $145.2 million will be used for capital projects, including $116 million in funding for projects delayed by the budget gridlock, such as the Advanced Chemical Technology Building at UIC, the Public Safety Building in Springfield and the Integrated Bioresearch Laboratory in Urbana-Champaign.

A U of I-led research center called the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) and its primary hub, the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), will receive $500 million in support. The money will go toward designing and constructing the DPI, which will be based in Chicago. City and system leaders hope the hub will accelerate innovation, discovery, job creation and economic growth in Illinois.

Other highlights from the budget increase include $401 million for the Monetary Award Program statewide and $25 million to fund a new state scholarship program, which will encourage in-state students to enroll in Illinois colleges and stem an outmigration of talent to other states. The U of I System will be asked to match the state’s contribution.

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