URBANA — Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed budget for fiscal 2014 would mean a $32.7 million reduction in state funding for the University of Illinois, taking it back to mid-1990s levels, officials say.
The university's annual general state tax support has been cut by $181 million since fiscal 2002, or about 27 percent.
The proposed cuts would push that amount to almost $214 million, leaving funding about equal to the UI's 1995 general appropriation, said spokesman Tom Hardy. Adjusted for inflation, state tax support would dip to fiscal 1965 levels, when the university had half as many students (about 39,000 compared with 77,400 today), he said.
UI President Bob Easter said he's not sure how the university will absorb the cuts, but it will try to maintain academic quality.
"It means we're going to have to become even more efficient than we have been in recent years," Hardy said. "It's an ongoing challenge."
The university had requested an $81.5 million increase in its state funding for next year, including money for employee raises and cost increases in Medicare, workers' compensation, operations and maintenance, utilities, and library acquisitions.
Easter said the budget cuts threaten the "world-class quality of our education and research" that drive economic growth for the state. He pledged to work with other higher education leaders on the funding issue during the spring legislative budget talks.