The University of Illinois System Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a $7.65 billion operating budget for the current academic year that prioritizes the commitment to student affordability and access.
The new budget provides a second consecutive year of increased financial support for the three system universities and is 6.5 percent larger than last year’s $7.18 billion operating budget.
General operating funds of $2.63 billion are made up primarily of state appropriations and tuition and fees and will support academic, research, economic development and public-service activities. This funding will increase 5.2 percent over the last fiscal year. The remaining $3.54 billion is made up primarily of funding for the university hospital, employee benefits and other restricted funds.
The operating budget, which is for the fiscal year that runs through June 2023, includes a $669.4 million state appropriation, an increase of 4.9 percent.
The new spending plan provides stability after the uncertainty of the early COVID-19 pandemic and is a product in part of the strong partnerships the system enjoys with the state’s elected leaders, U of I System President Tim Killeen said.
“This new budget and a second year of prudent increases backed by state investment in the U of I System reflects a high degree of confidence in the world-class education that students and families know they will find at our universities,” Killeen said. “Our collaboration with our elected leaders and this decision by trustees to increase funding across our campuses means that we can maintain our forward momentum and continue serving the people of Illinois with certainty and confidence.”
Tuition and fees are the single largest source of revenue in the new budget at $1.48 billion, accounting for 19.4 percent of the operating funds.
Under the new budget, the university system will increase student scholarship spending to $516.6 million, up 15.3 percent from last year’s $448.2 million. The U of I System has made institutional financial aid a priority for more than a decade.
“Access and affordability are among the most important drivers behind our spending decisions,” Killeen said. “The U of I System is committed to providing the life-changing opportunities available on our campuses to deserving students from across our state.”
Also Thursday, trustees voted to appoint Paul Ellinger as vice president/chief financial officer and comptroller of the U of I System, effective Friday. Ellinger has been serving in that role on an interim basis since July 15, 2021.
Ellinger succeeds Avijit Ghosh, who is now the system’s interim executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs.
Prior to his appointment as interim vice president/CFO and comptroller, Ellinger served as the associate chancellor and vice provost for budget and resource planning for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural mechanization and agricultural economics, and a PhD in finance, all from Urbana-Champaign.
Trustees also voted to appoint William T. Bernhard as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at Urbana-Champaign, effective Friday. Bernhard succeeds Andreas C. Cangellaris, who resigned Aug. 15.
Bernhard has served as interim vice chancellor and provost in a designate capacity since Aug. 16. He is executive vice provost for academic affairs at Urbana-Champaign and a professor of political science.