22, No. 16, March20, 2003
Illinois General Assembly
20: House appropriations hearing for higher
4: Deadline for third (final) reading in the
Illinois House and Senate
April 8: House higher education appropriations
April 9: Gov. Rod Blagojevich delivers his first
state budget message and releases the budget
document, with recommendations for higher education.
April-May: Additional House and Senate hearings
May 23: Scheduled adjournment.
July 1: New state fiscal year begins.
The UI, facing a
$130 million state budget cut over two years, is "on the brink"
and has exhausted all its fiscal flexibility, says UI President James
In recent testimony to the Illinois Senate appropriations committee
the president both pledged shared sacrifice and strict accountability
and warned against a loss of quality.
"As you know, the economy has not recovered, so fiscal year 2004
will be another difficult budget year for state agencies and higher
education," he told the senators.
"We understand that this is an extraordinary budget crisis and
the university will do its part to help you and the governor address
it. However, we have no remaining financial flexibility at the university.
Our enrollments are at record levels with nearly 71,000 students enrolled
this spring semester. We simply cannot maintain educational quality
while trying to serve these numbers of students with continuing reductions
After outlining achievements – faculty and student awards at the
Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses and the Springfield campus’s
leadership in online learning – the president laid out the impact
of the FY 02 and FY 03 budget cuts on the university and continued uncertainty
about the FY 04 budget.
"Although we are all proud of the extraordinary accomplishments
of the students and faculty of the university, I must also be frank
with you about the future," he said. "The cumulative effect
of the cost increases, budget reductions and rescissions in FY 02 and
FY 03 has eroded the university’s resource base by more than $130
million and has placed the institution on the brink."
He noted that a recent independent study ranks the Urbana-Champaign
campus 18th of 22 in its peer group for total resources for teaching,
research and service, less than half what is available to the University
of Michigan, and less than 60 percent of what is available to the top
eight peers, including UCLA, UC-Berkeley and Wisconsin. UIC and UIS
are in similar situations with their peer schools – and competition.
The president also pledged more progress in reducing administrative
overhead and said the UI Board of Trustees is deeply involved in working
with the university on such key issues as resource management, administrative
reorganization and tuition and financial aid policies. But there is
a limit to how much savings can be wrung from administration alone.
"Although we are already among the most efficiently run universities
in the Big Ten and the Association of American Universities, we will
reduce our administrative overhead even further," he said. "Currently
we spend only 4.9 percent on administration. Even larger savings here,
assuming they are possible, will not solve the university’s budget
Stukel testimony: Budget cuts put
UI ‘on the brink’