Statement from University of Illinois President Robert Easter
The fiscal 2016 state budget process got underway today and there can be no doubt that Governor Rauner and the legislature face a daunting task in the coming months.
In addition to serving as a resource during the legislative session, the University of Illinois will work with Governor Rauner and the General Assembly to develop funding approaches and regulatory policies that will sustain the U of I as an economic engine for the state and advance the preeminence of the University’s three campuses in achieving our core missions to educate, discover-and-innovate, provide public service, and spur economic development.
The proposed budget outlined by Governor Rauner today calls for a 31.5%, or nearly $209 million, reduction in state funding support for the University of Illinois.
A budget cut of that magnitude would substantially harm our students and the people of Illinois by most severely impacting the University’s core education and research missions. Between now and the end of the legislative session, the U of I will be in the Capitol to participate vigorously in this debate, stressing the twin aspects of prudent, responsible stewardship of public resources as well as the excellence and critical importance of our world-class University’s broad mission for our students and the people of Illinois.
For nearly 150 years, the University of Illinois has been one of the state’s most valuable and cherished assets. With an annual operating budget of $5.6 billion and the full-time-equivalent of 25,000 employees on campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield, and a statewide presence, the U of I provides an enormous beneficial impact on the state. The University enrolls more than 78,000 students, awards more than 20,000 degrees annually, operates a major health-care enterprise, and conducts competitively awarded research that can benefit society and be translated into commercial applications.
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 78,000 students, more than 25,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.