University seeking more money due to budget impasse


Lily Katz

Interim Vice Chancellor Edward Feser and Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson listen during the SEC meeting in Urbana, IL on Monday, April 25.

By Megan Jones, Staff Writer

The University is seeking the same amount of money it received in fiscal year 2015 to make up for losses it took during the state budget impasse.

Barbara Wilson, executive vice president and vice president of academic affairs, acknowledged during a formal budget request for fiscal year 2018 at the Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities meeting Monday that the move differs from previous years . The University faces a $190 million shortfall because of the state budget crisis.

She said the University typically requests “tiny increases” each year, but it will request more from the state this year to cover its losses. Increases are typically used for program initiatives, faculty compensation and other inflationary costs.

In fiscal year 2016, the University requested $40 million, or a 2.3 percent increase, more than the previous year’s appropriation; however, in recognition of the state’s budget situation “in recent years we’ve simplified our process considerably and we are now requesting primarily a restoration of a foundational appropriation, which in this case is equal to the original amount appropriated in fiscal year 2015.”

For fiscal year 2018, the University is requesting $662.1 million for operations. This is a request that would get the University back to a full-year of appropriation, she said.

The University is also requesting $25 million to support the University of Illinois Hospital, and the request is due to the nature of the health systems, Medicaid activity and the populations it serves. The funding will ensure high quality care continues to be available to the state’s most vulnerable populations, she said.

In the past, the University would reference various capital improvement projects, but Wilson said this year they have streamlined and are only asking for help with most urgent needs. The top priority is repair and renovation projects due to a very deferred maintenance backlog.

The University is asking for $60 million for the projects, but the backlog now exceeds over $2 billion across all three campuses. The projects selected are the most “critical” to continuing operations.

Additionally, the University is asking for funding to help with the $64,860 Art & Design building addition, the $43,000 Altgeld/Illini Hall renovation and the $14,000 Feed Mill replacement.

The Board of Trustees will also vote on a 2017 service agreement with the University of Illinois Foundation for over $7 million. The foundation works with alumni and corporations to bring in donations. Its funding includes $1.9 million for the foundation’s roadmap investment and funding for a new program launched during the University’s one hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebration. A philanthropy campaign will be launched during the next year to try and raise money.

The Board of Trustees will meet on Nov. 10 to further review these items.

[email protected]com