21, No. 12, Jan. 17, 2002
State funds fall short; campus
units prepare to cut budgets
By Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bill Wiegand
are determined in all of this to protect the quality of undergraduate
and graduate education."
Richard Herman, UI provost
Midway through the
fiscal year, administrative and service units on the UI's Urbana campus
have been asked to cut their budgets by 2.5 percent and academic units
to trim their expenditures by 1.25 percent.
A $15.2 million shortfall for the Urbana campus prompted the rescissions,
the result of Gov. George Ryan's cutting $34 million from the UI budget.
In a Jan. 5 e-mail letter to faculty and staff members, Chancellor Nancy
Cantor and Provost Richard Herman said that reserves and other funds
will be reallocated to cover approximately $8 million of the campus's
budget deficit; the remaining funds will be derived from reduced expenditures
among campus units.
The library was exempted from the budget rescission because of its crucial
supporting role in academics and research throughout the institution.
Moreover, the library already is underfunded and further reductions
at this time might compromise educational quality, Herman said.
Some hiring plans and infrastructure improvement projects may have to
be delayed or canceled because of the cash deficit; however, campus
officials believe delaying renovations to classrooms and laboratories
may compromise the campuss ability to remain competitive in attracting
and retaining faculty members and students, Herman said.
Officials also believe progress on certain capital projects is vital
to the university's educational and research missions, such as construction
of the Post-Genomic Institute and the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications facility as well as the proposed renovations of Lincoln
Hall and the Microelectronics Laboratory.
With a new fiscal year beginning July 1, campus officials are concerned
that this year's cutbacks may become permanent baseline budget reductions.
Should that happen, unit administrators have been advised that campus
reserves cannot permanently assume the burden for more than half the
rescission; unit administrators have been cautioned to prepare for the
possibility of absorbing the full reduction over two years.
A tuition surcharge for new on-campus students put into effect in fall
2001 was slated to pay for expansion of academic programs, enhancement
of the library, improved advising and some infrastructure improvements.
Campus officials are trying to avoid using those funds to cover the
"We are determined in all of this to protect the quality of undergraduate
and graduate education," Herman said. "We entered into a compact
with present and future students when we asked them to pay the surcharge.
We are committed to that end."
If the budget shortfall becomes permanent, students may be asked to
help out. At the Jan. 16 and 17 board of trustees meeting, Urbana campus
officials were to propose that in the event of a permanent budget reduction
tuition be increased $196 to cover 25 percent of the shortfall with
the remaining 75 percent covered through reallocation. The proposal
would be an approach consistent universitywide, Herman said.
Although the proposal was to be discussed at the January board of trustees
meeting, resolution is not expected until March when the state clarifies
its budget picture and the board of trustees meets again.
With state funding declining, campus officials plan to concentrate on
cultivating other sources of capital.
"The state share of public university budgets has been decreasing
for several decades," Herman said. "Consistent with this,
universities increased their efforts to gather private funds, whether
those are from corporations or foundations or individuals. We have been
quite successful in this arena and expect to continue emphasizing development."
Despite budgetary constraints, Herman said he and Cantor are focused
on securing the significant programmatic gains that have been made across
the campus during the past few years and on finding ways to progress
on initiatives under