Monday, January 13, 2020

UI trustees set to look at 5-year-old freeze on in-state tuition

Tuition for in-state freshmen hasn’t changed in five years at the University of Illinois, and trustees will decide next week whether to continue that freeze. So far, administrators aren’t saying what they will propose. But they’ve noted recently that faculty hiring hasn’t kept up with enrollment gains, partly because the tuition freeze has limited income growth.

Executive Vice President Barbara Wilson declined to say whether the freeze will be extended for a sixth year. “We’re still in discussions with the board members,” she said.

Systemwide, income from undergraduate tuition has continued to grow in the five years since the freeze was imposed in fall 2015, from $750 million in 2014-15 to $830.1 million in 2018-19, after waivers were granted to veterans, children of employees and other students, according to UI data.

Separately, fees and housing rates have also continued to climb for all students. Undergraduates provide the bulk of tuition income, as most graduate students receive tuition waivers, and in-state students make up about three-quarters of all undergraduates.

The UI system plans to hire 500 new professors in over the next five years, on top of normal retirements and faculty departures.

UI officials are considering state funding levels, enrollment and financial aid resources as well as “what other institutions are doing,” she said. Trustees meet Wednesday in Chicago, where they will also consider fees and housing rates for 2020-21.

This story appeared in The News-Gazette on Jan. 10, 2020.

Read the entire story online.