URBANA — The operating-budget request of the University of Illinois, which has hovered just below $5 billion in recent years, will top that mark by $11 million in fiscal year 2012, up by 5.2 percent from the year before.
Last year, the UI asked that its fiscal 2011 operating budget grow by 3.9 percent in its $4.8 billion request.
The UI Board of Trustees's Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee met on all three campuses Wednesday via videoconferencing.
The measure has to go on to a full trustees' meeting Sept. 9, then the governor, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Legislature.
The 5.2 percent increase for the fiscal year 2012 comes at a time when the state is $313 million behind in money owed to the three campuses, not to mention a shortfall of another $15.8 million for the state scientific surveys.
"They did not pick on us," said Comptroller Walter Knorr, noting that other state programs are being underfunded.
But, adjusted for inflation, state support for the university is now back at the 1970 level, Knorr said.
General revenue appropriations were reduced $7.1 million. There is a $693 million direct state appropriation for operating costs in the request. State funding has declined steadily since 2002, when the state's appropriation topped $804 million, spokesman Thomas Hardy said.
Still, total revenues have increased by 5.2 percent, according to Knorr.
"The university continues to weather the economic storm that has roiled our economy for several years with our excellence intact," President Michael Hogan said after the meeting in a press release. "Sound budgeting, cost-cutting efforts and prudent spending have enabled us to preserve and advance our standing as one of the world's elite universities, despite historic financial challenges."
Now, tuition and institutional funds are driving the increase in unrestricted funds, Knorr said. Restricted funds are money the UI gets from outside donors or grantors who place specific guidelines on the use of those funds.
The tuition increase, which includes financial aid, is $96.5 million, based in part on a 9.5 percent increase for incoming freshmen. That's up 11 percent from the previous fiscal year.
Sponsored research restricted funds are up by $39.8 million, gift and endowment income up by $4.1 million, and hospital and medical scholar program revenues increased $6.9 million.
But the payroll is always the university's biggest item, even with 1,000 jobs eliminated university-wide, Knorr said, including buyouts on the Urbana campus.
There were also some layoffs, furloughs and nonreplacement of departing workers.
Personnel and benefits comprised 20.4 percent of expenditures in the restricted budget, and 25.6 percent in the unrestricted budget request.
UI Trustee Edward McMillan, chair of the audit committee, asked if personnel costs were going up with health care costs. Knorr said that was the case.
In Associate Vice President Randy Kangas' presentation on the $518 million capital spending request, he noted that most of the requests, subject to state approval, are for repair and renovation. The largest Urbana request, for the Natural History Building, which has foundation problems, is $58 million.
The committee also studied a tentative operating budget and capital requests for fiscal 2013.
The 2013 operating budget request seeks an additional $83 million in state funding, an increase of 5 percent over fiscal 2012. Hogan stressed that the money was needed to strengthen academic quality, in part by retaining excellent faculty. The revenues could also address facility operations needs and other essential services.