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State Authority Over the University

The University of Illinois, as a public university, is under the ultimate authority of the state legislature—the Illinois General Assembly.  Subject to constitutional and self-imposed restraints, the General Assembly exercises control by virtue of its authority to change the laws pertaining to the university and its power to appropriate funds for the maintenance and improvement of the university.  The General Assembly and then Governor Otto Kerner created the Board of Higher Education in 1961 to plan and coordinate Illinois’ system of colleges and universities at a time when enrollments in post-secondary education were taking flight. The goal was to create an agency with the expertise, credibility, and statewide perspective to map an efficient and orderly course for the dramatic growth of higher education then underway.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) consists of fifteen members – ten appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Illinois Senate; one representative each of public universities, and private colleges and universities, also appointed by the governor but not needing Senate approval; the chairs of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the Illinois Community College Board; and a student member chosen by the Student Advisory Committee.

The IBHE is empowered to analyze the budget requests of the state institutions of higher learning and recommend to the governor, general assembly, and appropriate state budget agencies the amounts deemed proper; to approve all new units of instruction, research, and public service undertaken by the state institutions and their governing boards; to formulate and update a master plan of higher education to be submitted to the governor and the General Assembly and make any necessary surveys of higher education; to advise and counsel the governor upon request on matters pertaining to higher education; and to make recommendations to the general assembly for the enactment of necessary legislation.