Higher education funding remains same

By Diane Buerger

The December balances in the State of Illinois General Funds are up to $71 million from the previous year. However, available funds for higher education remain about the same, despite a cash flow problem experienced last year.

igher education funding is included in the general funds expenditures. Revenue from state appropriations and income from tuition and fees contribute to the fund.

Higher education expenditures increased from $92 million to $100 million between December 1987 and December 1988 – an increase of $8 million.

Rick Davis, spokesman for Comptroller Roland Burris’ office, said, “Last year we had a problem with he cash flow situation and Burris sent a letter to all State of Illinois university presidents to spend from income funds. Northern, Southern (Illinois Universities) and all universities receiving state funding were asked to do this.

“The fee and tuition money is sent to the state so the university can earn interest from it,” he said.

Income funds result from tuition and fee payment at Illinois universities. Made available to universities from the state, these funds earn interest and are appropriated through a budget that Gov. Jim Thompson must sign.

Eddie Williams, NIU vice president for finance and planning, said, “The income funding from tuition that the university collects is according to state law. The university collects money and gives it to the state. The univesity receives the appropriate money from the state.”

However, Williams said not all of the money due for the spring semester is available because of the option of installment plans available to students.

He said NIU needs to rely on state funds when such a situation arises. “The first (source) is the general revenue, which is the state revenues from taxes.”

Williams said if “the total budget is $112 million, alllowing $10 million for each month of the year, we use $8 million from general revenue and $2 million from income. If there is a cash flow problem, instead we use $7.5 million from (general revenue) and change $2 million to $2.5 million from the income fund.”

“There is a change in expenditure, but there is no impact on the budget … there is not a loss of money.”