UI tuition hike follows raises for selected faculty

$22 million in tuition increase; $9.7 million in raises

Certain University of Illinois employees together received $9.7 million in raises this fiscal year, according to an Illinois Times analysis of UI salary data. Meanwhile, the state’s largest public university system instituted a 6.9 percent tuition hike for the next academic year due to $477 million in late state funds.

Constituting about one percent of total university payroll, the raises were meant to retain staff who got offers at other universities and to reward staff who were promoted, while some raises were required by contract, said UI spokesman Thomas Hardy via email. He says UI president Michael Hogan continued the initiative started by former president Stan Ikenberry.

Hardy notes that there has not been a general salary increase at the university since 2008, adding that targeted salary increases are needed to retain quality staff.

“Talented faculty and staff can be recruited away — and we are seeing this happening — by other institutions with better compensation packages,” he says. “This can lead to the loss not only of talent, but research funding for research faculty and their teams, and it can result in the loss of prestige of this university.”

About 19 percent of UI staff still received raises, Illinois Times’ analysis indicates. Most of the raises were given to employees at the university’s Urbana-Champaign campus (UIUC), which also has the largest staff. More than $6.3 million was split between 1,366 staff at UIUC, bringing that campus’s payroll to more than $421 million. At the Chicago campus (UIC), 722 staff shared just over $3 million in raises, bringing the campus payroll to about $396 million. At the Springfield campus (UIS), 97 staff together received almost $340,000 in raises, bringing payroll to $21.6 million. Four university administration staff shared $20,290 in raises, raising that payroll for that group of employees to $61.7 million.

The raise program provided an additional $3,000 for each full-time faculty member promoted to full professor and $2,000 for each full-time faculty member promoted to associate professor with tenure. Faculty who received offers from other universities may have received raises in different amounts, but records pertaining to outside offers were withheld from a Freedom of Information Act request sent to the university by Illinois Times. That withholding is pending appeal with the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Documents obtained by the newspaper through that records request show the raises were meted out by college deans or vice chancellors and were approved only for units with “adequate resources” that “will not incur a deficit.”

The university system also has a little more than 1,600 unfilled positions, according to the salary data analyzed by Illinois Times. Those positions will likely remain unfilled as a means to manage the university’s budget through attrition, according to a Sept. 23, 2010, UI Board of Trustees budget presentation.

On March 23, the trustees voted in a meeting at UIS to increase tuition by 6.9 percent at all three UI campuses. Speaking to reporters after the vote, Hogan characterized the raise as an “annualized” 2.7 percent increase because tuition will be fixed for the next four years. The increase is expected to bring in an estimated $22 million. UI base tuition for in-state resident students will increase $718 per year to $11,104 at UIUC, $630 per year to $9,764 at UIC; and $562 per year to $8,670 at UIS.

The State of Illinois owes the University of Illinois system about $477 million out of $654 million appropriated in the state budget, Hardy says, adding that the university system has saved about $11 million by reorganizing administrative offices, with about $60 million in annual savings expected overall.

“These kinds of strategic assessments of how the university can best allocate its resources are ongoing and we’re never really ‘finished’ in how we can operated more efficiently and effectively in support of our core missions of education, research and public engagement,” he says.

Andrew Thomason of Illinois Statehouse News contributed to this report.

Contact Patrick Yeagle at pyeagle@illinoistimes.com.

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