Illinois Board of Higher Ed recommends increased university budget

Ginger Ostro speaks during the Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting on Monday. The board heard from Ostro on the budget recommendation and then approved sending the recommendation on to Springfield for the governor and state legislature. 

Connor Wood

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Board of Higher Education is recommending a 5% increase in funding directed towards state public universities, as part of its first budget request under a new strategic plan. The move now goes to the state legislature and governor.

At its first meeting of 2022, the board passed a yearly budget recommendation for fiscal year 2023. It includes a 7% increase from the budget passed for fiscal year 2022, for a total recommendation of $2.132 billion, up from $1.993 billion.

That does not include the State Universities Retirement System.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education budget recommendation for fiscal year 2023.

IBHE board member Jennifer Delany echoed other board members when she said she was glad to see the board’s staff recommend an increased budget.

“It shows foresight in thinking about ‘How do we invest our way out the pandemic?’” she said.

By far the largest section of the budget goes to the state’s public universities, with the board recommending $1.217 billion.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education gets takes roll during its Jan. 10, 2022, meeting where it approved its fiscal year 2023 budget recommendation. 

Connor Wood

The recommendation includes another $4.7 million for Illinois State University, to $74.35 million. Eastern Illinois University would see a 6% increase to $44.26 million. The Southern Illinois University system, which includes both SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville, would see a 4% increase to $201.3 million, the second largest appropriation after the University of Illinois system.

The recommendation for community college funding also increased by 5%. 

IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro’s presentation on the budget emphasized how the budget works within the strategic plan, especially in equity initiatives. That includes significant increases to funding for Illinois Student Assistance Commission programs, including a  71.5%, increase in operations and outreach, a 121.1% increase in funding for the Minority Teachers Scholarships program and a 121.6% increase in the Teacher’s Loan Repayment Program.

Chicago school leaders canceled class for a fourth day in the nation’s third-largest district as negotiations with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols failed to produce an agreement over the weekend.

“I really like how the budget priorities map well on the strategic plan,” board member Derek Douglas said.

The recommendation also increases the Monetary Award Program, or MAP, budget by $50 million, to $530 million. The board hopes to increase it over time to $1 billion. The program continues to fail to serve all eligible applicants, Ostro said.

“It continues to fall short of covering average tuition and fees at public universities and community colleges,” she said.

The budget recommendation is normally changed by the governor and the state legislature before being approved, sometimes significantly so. The changes often include line items, including the amounts designated for specific universities

Contact Connor Wood at (309)820-3240. Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorkwood

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January 10, 2022 at 04:35PM

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