Proposed UI state funding matches same appropriation as 1950s

By Abigale Svoboda

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed 30 percent budget cuts to higher education could bring the University back to 1950s levels of state appropriation in constant dollars, said Walter Knorr, chief financial officer, during a presentation at a Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.

He said the state currently owes the University $325 million in receivable funds.

The University’s endowment fund growth in 2014 was the third largest in the Big Ten; the University currently has $2.3 billion in endowment funds, Knorr said. However, the funding cannot be used for administrative costs unless directed by donors. Administrative costs are currently about five percent of the University’s total operating costs, he said.

Knorr said as the University copes with less state funding, there may be an increase in the use of endowment funds. However, Chancellor Phyllis Wise clarified that the University will never ask or guide donors to designate funds to administrative costs.

Although the University is struggling for state funding, it received a total of $175 million in donations in 2014. The University is ranked fifth in the nation for research funding, and ranked third in the Big Ten by the National Science Foundation.

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