By David Porreca Salary increases for UI faculty and staff as well as more resources for undergraduate education are some of the things the Urbana-Champaign campus can look forward to as a result of the FY 96 state budget that took effect July 1. The budget, which Illinois legislators passed in May, increased funding for the Urbana-Champaign campus by $16 million over last year's allocation of $350 million, a 4.5 percent hike. Funding for the UI as a whole rose by $35 million, up from $745 million in FY 95. The new state funds, in tandem with funding from internal allocations, will enable the Urbana-Champaign campus to raise salaries by at least 4 percent, according to Walter Tousey, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. The exact percentage of the raises may be more - or less - for some individuals and units, depending on such factors as merit and market competitiveness, he said. For several years, UI faculty salaries have failed to keep pace with those at other major research universities around the country. Tousey said the new budget will help to reverse that trend, at least in the short term. "From a salary standpoint, we held our own with our competitors, and that makes it a good year," he said. "This will be the second year in a row that we've made inroads [on making salaries competitive]." New funding also will be available for undergraduate education, according to Tousey. "The idea is to get money to areas experiencing heavy loads, as well as to continue the implementation of the "Discovery" program and revision of the General Education curriculum," he said. In addition, technology funds will go toward the purchase of more computers and instructional equipment. Unlike last year's spending plan, which was approved only after state lawmakers went into an overtime session, this year's budget was passed in a far more timely fashion. And that was much to the liking of University officials. "From a process standpoint, this has been a year in which we've been able to get the budget out on the streets sooner, and people have had more time to think about it," Tousey said. "It's nice to get the budget early - it's been a definite plus."