- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - The University of Illinois’ new president is expected to transfer $8.2 million of his discretionary money from administration to financial aid and other student programs as one of his first actions in the role.

The move supports statements Timothy Killeen has made about positioning himself as a student-focused president, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1GkmNhW ) reported. He has said he’s committed to improving the student experience and directing money away from administrative costs.

Killeen plans to dedicate his presidency to the university’s students, he said on the day his selection as president was announced in November.

“It is a first step of probably several that will be along the same lines,” Killeen said. “My hope is to send a beneficial signal to the university that we are committing to really looking hard at our processes and our cost models to most efficiently support our top priorities. Since day one, I have been talking about students as being that.”

Killeen is expected to announce the transfer of funds Wednesday during a speech at the City Club of Chicago. He also plans to discuss the important role the university, which has a $5.6 million operating budget, plays in the state’s economy.

The reallocation of $8.2 million to support student programs was identified during an ongoing review to examine spending and efficiency in central administration, which supports the University of Illinois’ three campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

“The internal reallocation will support our highest priority - a world-class education with student access, affordability, completion and success as key components,” Killeen said.

The funds are held in discretionary accounts under the president’s direction for various campus and university-wide initiatives. Those funds have been used to support projects such as campus facility renovations and information technology updates.

The university’s campuses now will be asked to submit proposals for a share of the president’s discretionary funds, which could be used for need- or merit-based financial aid, minority student recruitment, counseling, placement service and other student-centered programs, Killeen said.

“We are expecting great ideas and innovative ideas about how these resources can be used,” he said.

Killeen took office May 18 as the university’s 20th president. He’s a researcher in geophysics and space science who previously served as vice chancellor for research at the State University of New York and president of its $900 million research portfolio.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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