UI projects $270 million in COVID-19 costs in FY 2021

A+University+testing+site+worker+passes+a+COVID-19+test+tube+to+a+student+at+the+State+Farm+Center+testing+site+on+Oct.+8.

Cameron Krasucki

A University testing site worker passes a COVID-19 test tube to a student at the State Farm Center testing site on Oct. 8.

By Diana Anghel, Assistant News Editor

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has approved a $6.74 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021, showing a $232.9 million, or 3.3%, decrease from 2020. Because of the unprecedented spendings on COVID-19, the University will draw an additional $121.3 million in reserve funds this year.

The budget includes:

$2.4 billion in general operating funds, which include most education activities, tuition revenue and state funding;

$861 million for the university hospital at Chicago;

$2.1 billion in research grants, private donations, medical service revenue and auxiliary operations;

$1.4 billion in estimated payments from the state for employee health care and benefits.

A 20% increase is projected for scholarships and financial aid, with $402.6 million as “a demonstration of the system’s ongoing commitment to greater affordability and accessibility.”

Additionally, the University projects to spend $270 million in the fiscal year 2021 for COVID-19 related costs. About half will go toward testing for students and employees, quarantine and isolation for those who test positive, personal protective equipment and the continued transition to online learning, and the other half is projected lost revenues from the University’s in-person services.

“The state’s investment in our universities helps drive innovation and opportunity in communities across Illinois, training the future workforce and seeding the ideas that lead to new jobs and new companies from border to border,” said University system President Tim Killeen. “We deeply appreciate the state’s support, particularly as we work toward solutions to problems brought on by the pandemic, from pathfinding vaccine trials that help protect the population, to innovative approaches that aggressively test for and contain the virus, to the fundamental education and research that will put people back to work and on a path toward progress and prosperity.”

Trustees met virtually and approved a request for an 8.3% increase in state funding for the next fiscal year. More than 90,000 enrolled students for this fall in the UI System make for a record. The additional funding would be used to continue to drive the state’s economy and educational and affordability initiatives, the University stated.

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