January 24, 2005
IBHE PROPOSES $2.4 BILLION FY2006 BUDGET
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Board of Higher Education will
vote next week on a $2.4 billion budget proposal that targets student
financial aid as the top funding priority while recognizing the
continued fiscal struggle confronting state policy-makers.
Excluding mandated pension expenditures, the budget recommendations
total $2.1 billion and call for increased general fund spending
of $19.4 million, or less than 1 percent over fiscal 2005 appropriations.
The Board will meet Tuesday, February 1, at the University of Illinois
"This budget affirms the Board's highest priority, which is
to promote affordability and to foster student access by assisting
those students who would otherwise find college an unattainable
aspiration," James L. Kaplan, Chairman of the Board, said.
"The Board also has attempted to be responsible in its request,
given the slow recovery of the Illinois economy and the state's
ongoing financial crisis."
Highlights of the budget include:
- $361 million for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), an increase
of $22.4 million (including $18.7 million in state general funds
and $3.7 millions in federal matching funds), or 6.6 percent,
in the state's need-based student grant program administered by
the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). The increase
will make modest improvements in the buying power of MAP grants
and will accommodate the projected rise in the number of students
seeking financial aid.
- $1.3 billion in state general funds support for public universities,
an increase of $14.7 million, or 1.1 percent, over FY05 appropriations.
The recommended budget would enhance funding for faculty and staff
through a combination of state and institutional dollars .
- $307.6 million in state general funds support for the community
college system, a jump of $8.6 million, or 2.9 percent. The budget
recommendations include $10.8 million - to be combined with $15
million reallocated from FY05 - to implement changes in the equalization
grant formula adopted by the Illinois Community College Board
last November. The proposed budget also earmarks $2.5 million
for Disadvantaged Student Success grants to provide special or
extra services to disadvantaged students and to offer courses
and assistance to overcome educational deficiencies.
- $2.6 million in state general funds support for the University
Center of Lake County (UCLC), representing an increase of $1.6
million over FY05 funding levels. The increased funding will be
used to operate the new UCLC facilities opening in Waukegan and
- A state general funds decrease of $17.8 million, or 45 percent,
in grant programs administered by the Board of Higher Education,
principally through a $10.3 million reduction in the Health Services
Education Grants program and a $4.8 million cut in the State Matching
Grant Program that provides seed money for attracting federal
and corporate research dollars. The reductions are reallocated
to help finance the recommended increase in MAP funding. The grants
budget also includes $2.8 million for the new Diversifying Faculty
in Illinois Higher Education program.
- $328.2 million in state funding for the State Universities Retirement
System (SURS), an increase of $55 million, or 20.1 percent, over
FY05 levels. This represents the amount certified by SURS as necessary
to meet statutory funding requirements in fiscal year 2006.
- $349.9 million for capital improvements covering 29 projects
plus continued funding for capital renewal.
In other business, the Board will hear results of a survey of public
universities on the feasibility of instituting textbook rental programs
for students. The Office of the Governor has undertaken a study
of rising textbook prices, and identified rental programs at Eastern
Illinois University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
as models that help curtail student costs. The report to Board members
will examine the costs, benefits, and logistical considerations
in expanding such a program to all campuses.
In addition, Larry Isaak, president of the Midwestern Higher Education
Compact (MHEC), will address the Board on MHEC's programs and Illinois'
participation in its endeavors. MHEC is a consortium of 10 states,
including Illinois, aimed at promoting interstate cooperation and