NORMAL — With little expectation of receiving it, Illinois State University trustees approved a request Friday for $84.8 million in appropriated funds from the state for its fiscal year 2014 operating budget.
The request represents about a 17 percent increase in current state funding even though the state has steadily decreased money for higher education.
“We thought it was important symbolically to tell the state this is what we really need,” ISU President Al Bowman said after the meeting.
Since Bowman became president in 2003, ISU’s state appropriations have dropped from $92 million to $72 million.
The university has adapted to that decrease through tuition and fees, private donations and grant funding, Bowman said.
ISU’s ability to maintain a stable enrollment has provided a predictable revenue stream that helps with budgeting, Bowman said.
The university has received more than 6,200 freshman applications so far, an increase of 46 percent from this time last year. The academic quality of the applicants remains high, he said.
The board also approved a $267.8 million capital appropriations request, with a list of projects that has remained relatively unchanged for several years.
“A lot depends on the state’s ability to ramp up video gaming,” Bowman said, because the stated purpose is to provide revenue for capital construction.
Meanwhile, ISU hopes Gov. Pat Quinn soon will release already approved money for a $54.3 million renovation and building project for the College of Fine Arts, Bowman said.
In other action, the board extended Bowman’s contract through June 30, 2016. The contract includes a $100,000 retention bonus at the end of the four years.
The board also approved $1 million in funding for equipment, furnishings and other incidentals for the Hancock Stadium renovation project that were excluded when construction bids came in higher than expected earlier this year. The money will come from private donations and student athletic fees collected in the athletics facilities reserve fund.