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ISU proposes $561 million budget, up 8% over FY2023

University officials are targeting the fall of 2025 for enrollment of the first engineering class of an estimated 130 students, rising to reach 520 students by the fourth year.
Eric Stock
WGLT file
The Illinois State University Board of Trustees meets at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, in the Old Main Room at Bone Student Center.

Illinois State University’s proposed operating budget for next year totals more than $561 million. That’s an 8% increase in revenues, or a $41 million jump, over the fiscal year 2023 budget that began in July.

It includes a proposed $5 million increase in state aid that would be decided next spring by the General Assembly. If lawmakers approve, state support for ISU would remain about 14% of the total budget; 45.3% of all funds is budgeted for people, or $254.5 million.

numbers in ISU's proposed operating budget
ISU proposed operating budget

Staff said in briefing papers prepared for trustees who meet on Friday that the total unrestricted budget would rise 9.8% over FY2023. Capital projects make up a large share of the growth.

The plan would spend an estimated $73.4 million on operations and maintenance. Nearly $12 million of that is budgeted for utilities and utility conservation projects.

The university’s backlog of maintenance is estimated at $400 million. Staff said deferred maintenance will be addressed as funds allow.


The university’s key capital projects funded by the Academic Enhancement Fee include about $16.3 million for the Center for Visual Arts rotunda, DeGarmo Hall Plaza deck repair, and pre-construction services for the STEM Building & Greenhouse.

Projects funded by general revenue funds include about $6 million for the Rachel Cooper mechanical systems upgrade, chiller system Investments, and pre-construction services for Williams Hall rehabilitation and CIPD renovations.

Operating funds, academic enhancement fees, and reserves will pay for construction and renovation of existing space to prepare for the new College of Engineering, improvements to campus infrastructure to support the Mennonite College of Nursing Simulation Lab, and continued enhancements to academic buildings.

A total of $19.5 million in bond revenue will go to replace the west campus pedestrian bridge, parking garage and lot improvements, and facility upgrades in university housing, campus dining, and other bond revenue buildings.

ISU budget numbers
ISU proposed budget and revenue sources

Wish list

The university also has proposed a $653 million capital improvement request for state funding. That includes $613 million in projects and another $40 million in capital renewal money. Capital renewal addresses critical campus facility, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and building envelopes.

The broader improvement project requests are prioritized.

  • STEM/Science Lab building, $60 million
  • Engineering building, $137 million
  • Mennonite College of Nursing building, $82.3 million
  • Thomas Metcalf School replacement, $78.2 million
  • DeGarmo Hall rehabilitation, $52.3 million
  • University High School replacement, $86.4 million
  • Williams Hall renovation, $116.6 million

Some priorities have remained on the annual request for years — even decades — before the state chooses to fund them.


Inflation has even hit the insurance market for cybersecurity. ISU staff told trustees the insurance premium to cover losses from any cyber attack could go up 15%. Trustees are being asked to authorize up to $550,000 for coverage in the next budget year.

Staff said the jump is not related to any losses by ISU, but due largely to inflation.

IT infrastructure

Trustees also are being asked to approve $1.25 million for phase two of a four-year effort to modernize the campus information and wireless network.

Property sale

The university is preparing to sell the John Green Food Service building to … itself.

State guidelines require separate categories for academic buildings supported by state revenue and for non-academic buildings supported by fees and generated revenue.

ISU general revenue funds would pay the auxiliary facility system (AFS) nearly $3.8 million. Money would be put into the AFS reserves and used for deferred maintenance on other AFS facilities. It also could be used to pay for warehouse space leasing.

Trustees had previously approved the lease of warehouse space in town to accommodate things being moved out of the John Green building that will become the new College of Engineering.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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