UI trustees to review slightly larger budget

UI trustees to review slightly larger budget

URBANA — Thanks to a small boost in income from tuition and grants, the University of Illinois' operating budget this year is slightly larger, with more money being directed toward financial aid, particularly on the Urbana campus.

University trustees are expected to review the fiscal year 2013 budget as they meet Friday (today, Sept. 14) on the Urbana campus. A draft of the budget, made available to The News-Gazette in advance of the meeting, is pending approval by trustees.

The budget for all three campuses, plus university administration, comes in at a record $5.4 billion. Take out payments-on-behalf, which are a pass-through type of funds the state pays the UI for pension and health benefits for university employees, and the operating budget is $4.4 billion, with a 2 percent increase in unrestricted funds (such as tuition), a 5.1 percent increase in restricted funds (such as grants, contracts) and a 3.7 percent increase in all operating funds from fiscal year 2012.

As for money coming to the UI from the state, the appropriation from general revenue and other funds was down as expected. That category showed a decline of 6 percent this year, from $709.8 million last year to approximately $667.4 million. However, the state is expected to kick in a lot more money for pension and health benefits for UI employees. The payments-on-behalf category jumped about $227 million, or nearly 29 percent, from $793 million in fiscal year 2012 to $1.02 billion this year.

Earlier this year, trustees approved tuition increases on all three campus, including a 4.8 percent increase for freshmen who enrolled in Urbana this fall, and as a result, income from that fund will be up this year. The university income fund will rise 7.8 percent from $939 million to just over $1 billion.

Although royalties are a small portion of the university's revenue stream compared with research grants and tuition dollars, there is an expected jump to occur in that category this year. Money going to the UI from royalties is anticipated to rise 24.8 percent from approximately $19.6 million last year to $24.4 million this year. Randy Kangas, associate vice president for planning and budgeting, said the increase is due to top royalty generators Prezista, an HIV-treatment drug developed at the Chicago campus, and semiconductor technology from the Urbana campus.

The university is counting on fewer dollars coming from the gifts/endowment fund this year as annual giving is down a bit and returns from the endowment were flat, Kangas said. Revenue from gifts and endowment this year is budgeted at $140.2 million, down from $150.5 million, or 6.8 percent.

On the Urbana campus, the budget is close to $2 billion — $1.964 billion — up 3.8 percent from last year. State support is down, but slight increases are expected in income from grants and contracts, auxiliary funds and some other areas.

More spending is planned in the area of student aid while less is expected to occur in areas of institutional support and plant operations.

For just the Urbana campus, the amount allocated for student aid this fiscal year is approximately $139.5 million, up 20.6 percent from about $115.7 million last fiscal year. The money for aid comes from restricted and nonrestricted funds.

"We have this need-based pool, and Urbana has wanted to enhance that," Kangas said.

Also on Friday, trustees are expected to approve a preliminary fiscal year 2014 budget request, appointments for the academic year and several construction projects on the Chicago campus. Administrators will deliver several presentations on key campus data, such as student enrollment and financial aid numbers compared with peer institutions.