The University of Illinois ranks high in the Big Ten on a measure it would rather not: tuition and fees. For several years, it has had the third-highest tuition and fees in the conference, behind only Northwestern and Penn State. But the UI is proposing its third consecutive tuition freeze for in-state freshmen next fall.
Graduate students, freshmen from other states and international students would see a 1.8 percent tuition increase.
If approved, the tuition freeze for Illinois residents would be the longest in 40 years, according to the university.
The UI had a four-year freeze from 1974 to 1977.
"I don't know how long we can keep our tuition flat for Illinois residents, given our state situation," Executive Vice President Barb Wilson told UI trustees Monday. "But we're committed for one more year."
A budget impasse reduced state funding for the UI system over the last two years by about $750 million as legislators could only agree on temporary stopgap funding measures.
"We are working hard to keep education affordable," Wilson said. "The future is the question."
Trustees reviewed proposed tuition, fees and housing rates for the UI's three campuses in Chicago, Springfield and Urbana at the board's Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee. The full board will vote on the measures Jan. 19 in Chicago.
As proposed, base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall would match rates for the 2014-15 academic year — $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.
UI President Tim Killeen said the goal is to keep a UI education affordable and accessible to all students.
This story appeared in The News-Gazette on January 10, 2017.
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