Budget and Tuition FAQ


The total FY 2019 operating budget* for the University of Illinois System is $6.8 billion.



Budget allocation pie charts

Download the budget breakdown percentages

*Includes $1.7 billion in payments made on the behaf of the System for employee benefits and $39.5 million for the Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment (AFMFA).

What are "state revenues" and "state payments on behalf?"

State revenues are the unrestricted funds received from the state, also known as “state direct appropriations.” These funds, along with tuition income, are used to pay salaries and operating costs such as utilities and maintenance. State of Illinois payments on behalf are restricted funds from the state of Illinois paid out for two purposes:

  1. to the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) as a contribution to employees’ retirement funds
  2. to the state of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, covering a portion of the cost of providing employee health insurance

How does the U of I System determine each year how the funds will be spent?

For each fiscal year, the system presents a budget request to the Board of Trustees for review based on requests from all the campuses, colleges, and units.  Once the trustees have approved the budget request, it goes to the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). IBHE reviews the budget requests from all state universities and creates an overall budget recommendation that is submitted to the legislature. Once an appropriation has been enacted by the legislature and is signed by the governor, the system creates its final budget (Budget Summary for Operations) that is presented to the Board of Trustees. 

Aside from tuition and fees, state/federal funding, and donation, in what ways does the System generate revenue?

Some examples of income-generating activities across the system include: housing, athletics, patient care through the hospital and medical colleges, student union operations, facility rental, and parking. These are restricted funds and must be used to support the activities.

Can I view a copy of the current budget?

Yes. The budget request and the Budget Summary for Operations are posted each year by the Board of Trustees. 

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, or the cost that a student pays to take classes, is set for each university annually by the Board of Trustees, based upon a number of factors, including instructional costs, state appropriations, and the rate of inflation. The U of I System has frozen tuition rates for new in-state undergraduates for the past five years.

For Illinois resident undergraduates, the guaranteed tuition program locks in the same tuition rate throughout his/her four years.

Are tuition and fees the same for all students?

No. Several factors determine the exact rate for a particular student. These can include residency, program of study, and credit load.  There are also mandatory fees that vary for each university, and some programs have additional fees. For detailed information on all tuition, fees, and housing rates, see the Tuition Book

In addition to tuition, when calculating the total cost of attendance, students and their families should factor in room and board, books and supplies, and other living expenses.

What about financial aid?

Financial aid advisers encourage students and their families to differentiate between college "sticker price" and the real cost after financial aid and tax credits and deductions.

More than half of University of Illinois System students typically pay less than full cost of tuition because of need- and merit-based aid provided by the university and federal and state grant programs.

Some students are eligible for tuition waivers that provide financial assistance to students who demonstrate need or hardship, and students with academic talent or special status. Total or partial waivers may also be granted to student veterans, reserve officers, university employees and their children, and research and teaching assistants.

For more specific details on estimated student costs per university, as well as financial aid and scholarship information, visit: