University of Illinois Federal Issues

Some of the major issues considered at the federal level that impact the University of Illinois System:

U of I System 2019 Federal Priorities

In January 2019, U of I System President Tim Killeen sent a letter to the Illinois Congressional delegation outlining federal priorities for 2019.  OGR also prepared a one pager to share these priorities efficiently. 


As a pre-eminent public research university, the U of I System is a leader in groundbreaking research and discovery. U of I System faculty and students are conducting research that drives innovation and economic growth. Read more below about the U of I System's major appropriations priorities for Fiscal Year 2020.

Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Cost Reimbursement

The U of I System is concerned about proposals to cap federal reimbursement for facilities & administrative (F&A) expenses. In June 2017, U of I System President Tim Killeen and our three university chancellors sent a letter to OMB and HHS leadership expressing opposition to the proposed cap.

Budget & Sequestration

The U of I System was pleased to see that Congress recently raised the top-line budget caps for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 that were set under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) . 

In conjunction with a strong, larger effort by our higher education community, the U of I System has urged lawmakers to replace the BCA’s sequestration process and increase discretionary spending caps. There is increasing and bipartisan sentiment in Congress that the current spending caps need to be revised, although no consensus on how to achieve that goal, or on whether the caps for defense and non-defense spending should be treated equally.

Tax Reform

Tax reform legislation—H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—included a number of provisions that would be damaging to higher education, students, and the U of I System. On December 7, U of I President Tim Killeen sent a letter to the House and Senate tax reform conferees. Read more about the University's concerns about how it will make higher education less affordable and undermine the University's ability to promote economic growth and opportunity.

Higher Education Act (HEA)

The U of I System is committed to enhancing affordability, completion, innovation, accountability, and transparency. As Congress considers proposals to reauthorize HEA, the U of I System is ensuring that our priorities are heard and taken into consideration.
In February 2018, U of I Executive Vice President Barb Wilson sent a letter to all 18 members of the Illinois delegation expressing concerns regarding H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act, that would reauthorize HEA.
Read more about the importance of federal student aid programs across the U of I System.


The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health) consists of a 495-bed tertiary care hospital, 22 outpatient clinics, Mile Square Health Center facilities, and seven health science colleges. UI Health's top federal priorities include:

  • Maintaining access to affordable healthcare
  • Protecting Medicaid for vulnerable and underserved populations 
  • Protecting Medicare payments to hospital outpatient departments 
  • Protecting vital support for medical education and training to continue to educate the next generation of healthcare professionals. 
  • Maintaining vital resources that help vulnerable patients through the 340B drug pricing program
  • Supporting efforts to delay reductions to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments

Read more about UI Health and its federal priorities.


The U of I System encourages Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes the DREAM Act and expands visa and citizenship opportunities for STEM graduates. We urge Congress to, at a minimum, codify the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 

  • On June 3, 2019, President Killeen sent a letter to the Illinois delegation urging support for H.R. 2820, the DREAM Act of 2019, which would ensure that talented undocumented Illinoisans who came to the U.S. as children can continue to make positive contributions to our state and nation.
  • On December 12, 2017, Big Ten chancellors and presidents, including Chancellor Jones, sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to take action on the DACA policy and pass a long-term legislative solution as soon as possible to protect Dreamers.
  • In October 2017, the U of I System and its three universities signed onto an American Council on Education (ACE) letter which urged Congress to act, as President Trump requested when he rescinded the DACA policy.
  • In September 2017, Chancellor Jones joined 56 other AAU presidents/chancellors in signing on a letter urging Congress to act immediately so DACA participants may remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

Protecting Intellectual Property

World-leading universities like the U of I System play an important role in technology transfer and economic development. The U of I System moves ideas and products from the laboratory to the marketplace by providing a place, process, and platform for research and commercialization. 

The U of I System understands that patent troll behavior is a real problem that must be addressed. However, universities are not patent trolls. We believe that Congress should draft tailored legislation that targets bad behavior rather than weaken intellectual property rights of all patent holders. Any legislation that moves forward should not impede our state's growing innovation ecosystem.

Additional Resources