A university committee has recommended against adopting the Common Application for admissions on the Urbana and Springfield campuses.
UIC began using the undergraduate admission application, which is shared by 488 colleges and universities, for fall 2013 admissions.
"The UIC experience is very new - an experiment in the making," Christophe Pierre, the university vice president for academic affairs, told the U. of I. Board of Trustees at its May 29 meeting on the Chicago campus.
"The overall result is a good result, but there have been consequences we don't fully understand yet, which we'll be studying."
The Common Application is a nonprofit organization established to promote equity and access in college admissions through a "holistic selection process" that includes an essay, letters of recommendation, and additional information such as student employment, internships and personal experience.
A team formed by then-U. of I. president Michael Hogan in 2011 recommended the university consider using the Common Application for each campus.
Pierre said the potential advantages include improved visibility and branding and better outreach to out-of-state and international applicants.
UIC's first use of the Common Application resulted in a slight increase in the number of applications and improvement in the quality of applicants, he said, but in-state applications were down and the number of applicants to individual colleges shifted compared to previous years.
"It's hard to tell if this is a result of the Common App or not," he said, adding that further analysis is needed.
Administrators at UIS and Urbana both concluded "it was not in their best interest to join," Pierre told trustees.
The Urbana application process, which uses applicant-reported academic records instead of transcripts, is not compatible with the current version of the Common App.
The cost of adopting the Common App and the prospect of impending improvements to the application are additional reasons to wait, Pierre said.
The university will monitor admission and enrollment trends at its three campuses and other Big Ten universities and revisit the use of the Common App later, he said.
An update of the financial outlook for the state of Illinois presents "a very, very disturbing picture," said David F. Merriman, the associate director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, in a report to the board.
"Unemployment has taken a sharp upturn," Merriman said. "The Illinois economy appears to be faltering relative to its Midwestern neighbors."
Although the U.S. economy is slowly improving, "Illinois is one of the very few states in the country going the other way," he said.
Merriman said the state has amassed $9 billion in unpaid bills. Of even more concern, however, is the scheduled 2015 expiration of a temporary increase in income tax, Merriman said.
Walter Knorr, the vice president for finance, said the effect of sequestration on federally funded research at the university has been less than feared, "but there's a lot of uncertainty still out there."
Knorr said the state's financial problems will have a direct effect on university employees when they begin paying "very significant increases" in health insurance rates as of July 1 - increases that equate to about 1 percent of an employee's salary, he added.
However, the backlog in payment of state appropriations to the university for its FY 13 operating budget, which in January reached a record $502 million, has been reduced to about $250 million, Knorr said.
The state appropriation for the budget year ending June 30 "will all be paid by Dec. 31, they say," Knorr added.
- The board passed a new policy limiting the use of search firms to fill university positions, in accordance with a new state law. Requests to use a search firm must be approved by the campus and the university president.
Search firms can be used only in the hiring of the university president, or cases where strict confidentiality is required in the initial stages, the position requires extensive recruiting in a competitive market, or candidates are in a specialized field "outside the traditional areas of higher education."
- A year was added to the contract for John Groce, the head men's basketball coach at Urbana, extending it through April 30, 2018. His media and marketing salary component was increased from $1 million to $1.2 million, which, when added to his base salary of $400,000, results in a total annual salary of $1.6 million effective May 1. The university will continue to contribute $100,000 per year to his previously agreed deferred compensation plan, to be paid if he remains in his position through April 30, 2017.
- The budget for the third phase of Ikenberry Commons was increased from $80 million to $83.2 million. The project includes a new residence hall, demolition of Taft and Von Doren residence halls and a new storm water detention system on the west playing fields on First Street.
- The 50-year-old Assembly Hall has been renamed State Farm Center under a 30-year, $60 million naming-rights agreement with State Farm Insurance Co. announced last month that will provide nearly 40 percent of funding for upgrades at the campus sports and entertainment center.
Upgrades at State Farm Center will include expanding the hall's floor to accommodate larger conventions and entertainment programs, adding luxury suites, and installing air conditioning, which will allow for year-round sports and entertainment programming. Major work is expected to begin in March 2014, and renovations are expected to be completed in November 2016 - with yearly stoppages to accommodate basketball season. Along with State Farm's naming-rights agreement, the project will be funded through private donations and a new $25 per semester fee approved by students in a March referendum.