Contact: Don Sevener, 217.557.7334
August 13, 2002
BUDGET OUTLOOK, AFFORDABILITY STUDY TOP IBHE AGENDA
SPRINGFIELD – An iffy state fiscal environment and heavy demands on projected new revenues combine to create a difficult budget outlook as the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) begins preparing a fiscal 2004 higher education spending plan. That’s the conclusion of a report Board members will review at a meeting next week in Springfield.
The Board also will act on a resolution to launch a major study of college affordability in Illinois, its first in-depth examination of the cost of going to college since 1994. The Board will meet at 9 a.m., Tuesday, August 20, at the Lincoln Land Community College Capital City Center, 130 West Mason Avenue in Springfield.
“Higher education will face enormous challenges during these trying economic times,” Daniel J. LaVista, Executive Director of the Board, said. “We at the Board of Higher Education and within the higher education community will strive to be creative in focusing on those needs and endeavors that will enable us to make progress on key state goals even in a difficult financial climate.”
The preliminary report on fiscal 2004 budget issues notes that general funds appropriations for fiscal 2003 were $147.1 million, or 5.5 percent, less than appropriations for FY02, the result of a $1.6 billion shortfall in state revenues. General funds appropriations totaled $2.5 billion for this fiscal year. Statutory requirements for funding pensions continues to take a big bite out of dollars available for other purposes: When allocations to the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) are considered, FY03 funding for higher education operations and grants is down $167.9 million, or nearly 7 percent, from fiscal 2002.
This year’s appropriations, when adjusted for inflation, are just $32 million higher than fiscal 1990, when the temporary income tax was approved. In inflation-adjusted dollars, state funding of public universities has fallen $171 million – nearly 11 percent – since FY1990. Support for community colleges in FY03 is slightly above 1990 levels when funding for adult education, which was added to the community college portfolio in 2002, is considered. Without
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