Trustees approve $5B university budget

piggy bank with a dollar sticking out of it

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees Thursday approved a $5.64 billion budget for fiscal 2015 that increases spending by less than 1 percent.

The budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 is up 0.2 percent, or $11.1 million, from the year before.

The budget includes $4.5 billion for day-to-day operating costs on the university’s campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield — up $69.5 million or 1.6 percent from fiscal 2014.

Day-to-day costs related to the educational mission, including salaries and academic support, are covered through unrestricted funds. State funding and tuition revenue comprise the bulk of unrestricted funds, which increased $35 million to $2.10 billion for fiscal 2015, up 1.7 percent from the year before.

The university’s direct state appropriation for fiscal 2015 decreased $1.2 million, or .2 percent, to $667.5 million. Tuition revenue increased by $33.8 million, or 3.2 percent, to $1.10 billion, but growth has slowed under a policy adopted by trustees four years ago that holds tuition increases to the rate of inflation.

Revenue from restricted funds rose by $34.5 million, or 1.4 percent, to $2.4 billion. Restricted funds include research grants, private donations and gifts, hospital and medical service plan revenues, and auxiliary operations such as campus housing and food services. Those funds must be spent for the specified purpose.

The budget includes $1.1 billion in payments from the state for employee health care and pension benefits, down $58.4 million or 4.9 percent from fiscal 2014. For the fourth consecutive year, the budget provides a salary program for university faculty and staff, who received no pay increases in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The merit-based raises average 2.5 percent, down slightly from 2.75 percent last year.


Fiscal 2016 funding request

The board approved the university’s request for state operating funds for fiscal 2016, which begins July 1, 2015. The proposal seeks $707.8 million, an increase of $40.3 million – or 2.3 percent – from the fiscal 2015 direct state appropriation.

The request, the first step in the annual budget process, will be submitted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the state for consideration.

Officials say most of the requested increase would be used for competitive compensation to recruit and retain top faculty and staff. The rest would address deferred maintenance and facility renovation and cover inflationary cost increases.

The budget request includes $452.1 million in capital funding to repair and renovate aging facilities on the three campuses.

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