ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
The University of Illinois’ proposed trade — smaller tuition increases for more state money — looks to lockbox another 600-million dollars out of the state’s budget.
U of I President Tim Killeen is selling the ‘full funding’ proposal as a guarantee of certainty for the school and that Illinois students see a return from the university.
The university, by law, would get at least $662 million a year indefinitely. The school would also jump to the front of the line of Illinois’ unpaid bills.
School President Tim Killeen said lawmakers would add a special Illinois Excellence Program fund in the state budget.
“This would help us provide state of the art classroom and research facilities to leverage recruitment and retention of world class faculty,” Killeen explained.
But the law is silent as to how much of the fund would be spent on buildings as opposed to bonuses.
Killeen said the proposal is an investment. “It is not business as usual,” he said. “It is business as required in the public interest.”
Lawmakers have been critical of the university in recent years for its administrative bloat. Killeen himself makes $600,000 a year with another $100,000 in possible bonuses.
Killen said the university will tie tuition increases by to inflation. Tuition will increase, he admitted, but at a slower pace.
And Killeen said the proposal guarantees at least 14,000 Illinois students will be admitted to the University’s Urbana-Champaign campus, but that’s less than a third of the 44,500 students currently there.