The University of Illinois System Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a $7.18 billion budget for the current academic year as well as the design of a new Library Learning and Student Success Center at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and the purchase of a clinic that will expand healthcare access in two underserved Chicago neighborhoods.
The new budget includes critical investments in restricted funds from sources such as housing, dining and other student service fees as U of I System universities return to more in-person operations this year, as well as related growth in sponsored research programs.
Trustees met virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget, which is for the fiscal year that runs through June 2022, is an indicator that the U of I System remains focused on its mission to educate and foster economic opportunity even as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, system President Tim Killeen said.
“This new spending plan reflects our ongoing commitment to providing access to our universities and life-changing opportunities, as well as our duty to maintaining safe, healthy campuses for all of our students, faculty and staff as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” Killeen said. “We are also pleased that, under what continue to be challenging circumstances, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and our partners in the General Assembly continue to see public investment in higher education as an investment in a stronger, sustainable economy and a better Illinois.”
The current year’s budget includes a $603.37 million state appropriation. State funding makes up 11 percent of the system’s projected revenue excluding state payments made on behalf for employee benefits.
Tuition and fees, projected this year to be $1.41 billion, are the single largest source of revenue at 24 percent. Trustees previously froze in-state undergraduate tuition for the year – the sixth such freeze in seven years – but enrollment across the system grew by 5 percent, reaching a record 94,750 this fall.
The new budget will provide an 11 percent increase in funding for scholarships and financial aid, $448.2 million compared to last year’s $402.6 million, as the system and its universities continue to invest in greater affordability and access.
“Providing the aid that opens the door to an education for so many is a priority for the U of I System,” Killeen said. “The decision to continue increasing our investment in this vital area even in challenging times is a reflection of our belief in higher education’s ability to change lives and help build a prosperous and healthful future for us all.”
UIS Library Learning and Student Success Center
Trustees approved the design for the $35 million Library, Learning, and Student Success Center at UIS.
The design by Bailey Edward Design of Champaign for the 63,000 square-foot center includes plans for the UIS library, the Center for Academic Success and Advising, the Career Development Center, Information Technology Services, experiential teaching and learning labs, a 200-seat multi-use classroom, a variety of collaboration and meeting spaces and quiet study space. This project is planned to achieve LEED Gold certification.
UI Health Gage Park Clinic
Trustees also approved the purchase of a three-story clinic at 5525 South Pulaski Road in Chicago from Mercy Hospital for $4.95 million.
The clinic will become the UI Health Gage Park Clinic, part of an initiative known as the TARGET Health Collaborative and financed by $15 million from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. That funding includes the purchase price.
The clinic is in an underserved area of the southwest Chicago neighborhoods of West Eldson and Gage Park, with a local population of 163,000. The facility will be renovated and provide access to specialty care and advanced diagnostics, behavioral and mental health services, and a state-of-the-art Women Wellness Center that will feature advanced obstetric and ultrasound capabilities.
New Athletic Director
Trustees appointed Laura Liesman as director of Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at UIS, effective Sept. 24. She has been serving in a designate capacity since Sept. 1.
Liesman has served as assistant vice president for athletics and recreation at Georgian Court University in New Jersey since 2016. She has served as chair of the NCAA Division II Management Council and director of athletics and recreation at Georgian Court.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Monmouth College and a Master of Science from Georgia Southern University.
Liesman succeeds Roy Brown, who served on an interim basis beginning in February.
The contract for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) men’s basketball coach was extended by one year, through April 2027.
Brad Underwood’s basic compensation will not change this year but will increase from $3.625 million to $3.8 million for the 2022-23 contract year. Annual increases will follow, with basic compensation reaching $4.2 million in 2026-27.
Underwood’s contract now also includes a revised retention-bonus structure, providing $300,000 for each year he remains the team’s head coach rather than a single $750,000 incentive in 2025-26.
Underwood, who was hired in 2017 from Oklahoma State University, led the Illini to a 24-7 record last season, the Big Ten Tournament championship and the NCAA Tournament. It was the team’s first NCAA appearance since 2013.
Establish Mexico City Office
Trustees voted to establish an office to represent the University of Illinois System in Mexico City. The office will promote collaborations between the system and entities in Mexico and act as a communication channel with those organizations.
The establishment of the office follows the creation earlier this year of the Illinois Mexican and Mexican American Students (I-MMAS) Initiative to build stronger collaborations with Mexican universities, companies, and the Mexican American community in Illinois, as well as to support enrollment of Mexican and Mexican-American students in Illinois.
In addition, trustees made several key appointments on Thursday.
Michael T. DeLorenzo was appointed as the inaugural vice chancellor for administration and operations at UIUC, effective Sept 24. DeLorenzo is currently the senior associate chancellor for administration and operations.
Amalia V. Pallares was appointed vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement at University of Illinois Chicago, effective Sept. 27. She has served in that role in a designate capacity since Aug. 16 and was previously the associate vice chancellor and vice provost for diversity.
Janet Parker was appointed vice chancellor for budget, human resources and financial administration at UIC, effective, Sept. 27. She has served in that role in a designate capacity since Aug. 16 after serving as associate vice chancellor for budget, human resources and financial administration.