Friday, January 5, 2018

U. of I. plans in-state tuition freeze for 4th straight year

Hoping to stem an exodus of local students to colleges in other states, the University of Illinois plans to freeze its base tuition for incoming, in-state freshmen for a fourth consecutive year, the Tribune has learned. University President Timothy Killeen will recommend extending the tuition freeze for Illinois residents who enroll this fall, he told the Tribune in an interview Thursday.

The board of trustees is scheduled to vote on Killeen’s proposal at its meeting Jan. 18.

The fixed tuition means Illinois residents starting this fall will pay the same base rates as in-state students who enrolled every year since 2014: $12,036 a year at Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 at Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.

The total price of attendance is significantly higher after incorporating required fees, as well as room and board. Those costs will increase for many students next year.

Students in popular programs such as engineering will continue to pay higher tuition, as well.

The move to keep a lid on base tuition for residents comes as Illinois public universities face increasing competition from public universities in neighboring states.

At the same time, state Illinoisans are leaving the state in droves, chiefly for other Midwestern public and private schools with comparable rates, generous financial aid and better overall stability in higher education, state education data show.

In 2002, 71 percent of Illinois high school graduates who attended four-year universities chose in-state schools, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. By 2015, the most recent year data were available, just 55 percent chose Illinois colleges.

If the board approves the proposal, it would mark the first time the university locked tuition rates for four straight years since 1974 to 1977.

Annual fees at the Springfield campus would increase $200, to $2,426, starting in the spring. The change incorporates a student-approved charge to help pay for a new student union. Tuition rates for non-resident freshman students and the price for the standard housing and meal plan would not change.

Despite dwindling state support and fewer students in the college pipeline, the three-school University of Illinois system is aiming grow enrollment 15 percent across the three schools by 2021. 

This story appeared in The Chicago Tribune on January 4, 2018.

Read the entire article online.