UI leaders have new money proposal

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-CHICAGO - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-CHICAGO -- UI leaders have a new plan to keep money coming into their system from the state. It was introduced Thursday at the Board of Trustees meeting and as a bill in Springfield.

The idea is a two-way agreement. UI President Tim Killeen says they plan to meet certain performance-based standards in exchange for a stable source of money.

With this proposal, the state would give the university $662 million for fiscal year 2018. That's the same amount as the last full appropriation in 2015.

The number would go up at the rate of inflation for the next five years. The state would also make changes to help the university system be more efficient, like making the system exempt from certain state codes and helping work through red tape which affects research.

Killeen says those things will help the university plan for further down the road. He says it's even more important after having to work through the state's budget impasse.

"Combined, that will help the university to operate with more agility and effectiveness in the very competitive, higher education healthcare sectors to build on our rich legacy of service to Illinois' taxpayers and families," said Killeen.

On the university's side, tuition costs would freeze for in-state undergraduate students, only adjusting for inflation. They would also accept a minimum number of in-state students and use at least $83 million a year for financial aid.  

If the university falls short of its goals, the money isn't guaranteed. On the flip side, if the money doesn't come through, the university isn't bound by those standards. The Board of Trustees approved the idea unanimously.

This is the first time in state history a public university's performance would be part of a statute. Other UI standards include a 87% freshman retention rate across the three campuses, plus making sure at least 72% of students graduate within six years.

Leaders also have to commit an extra $15 million of financial aid to minority and under-represented students.


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