URBANA – Earning a degree from the University of Illinois could get more pricey beginning this summer.
The UI Board of Trustees on Tuesday is expected to consider proposals to increase tuition and to add a new fee that would cover the costs of repairing and maintaining buildings on the three campuses.
Under the proposal, tuition would increase about $333 per semester at the Urbana campus. For freshmen this fall, tuition would cost $3,854 per semester. For those freshmen, that amount would remain fixed for four years, according to a state law that became effective in January 2004.
The bottom line, said UI President B. Joseph White, is "we have a moderate, responsible tuition increase."
The tuition increase translates to about $27.4 million more for the university next year. That extra money would be spent on adding course sections, bringing in more teaching staff, plus boosting compensation in order to retain top-notch faculty, according to the UI. The UI also calls for substantially increasing the amount of financial aid to students.
"It's important to put the tuition increase in context; 9.4 percent (when comparing this year's freshman tuition to next year's freshman tuition) seems like a lot, but when you break it down, it's about 3.6 percent each year," said UI Student Trustee Nick Klitzing.
Under the proposal, tuition would rise also at the other campuses: $293 per semester at UI-Chicago and $500 per semester for UI-Springfield.
In addition to the higher tuition, incoming freshmen and new graduate students would pay an additional $250 per semester or $500 per year to the Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund.
This would be an entirely new fund specifically set up to cover maintenance and repairs to academic buildings on campus.
The UI estimates there is about $800 million worth of work needed to repair crumbling concrete and fixing leaky roofs.
"We must get on top of this within a decade," White said.
The fee would be phased in over four years and it could rise if repair and replacement costs rise. It would be prorated for part-time students.
Although White said he doesn't expect to be met with roses on campus next week, an informal survey of students at the Illini Union on Thursday turned up few negative reactions about the tuition increase or maintenance fee.
"No one wants to pay more money," said UI senior Christine Chen. However, she does like the idea of adding more teachers and keeping the teacher-student ratio low.
"It's not such a significant increase that it would affect lifestyles," said UI sophomore John Langan. "For me, it's worth it if we're going to see buildings maintained better and there will be more faculty," he said.
Proposed tuition for next year (per semester) *, $3,854
Tuition for in-state students enrolled in fall 2005 , $3,521
Per-semester increase , $333
Proposed Academic Facilities Maintenance Fee (per semester)., $250
Would only apply to new students; this fee would be phased in over four years.
Source: University of Illinois
* Four-year guaranteed tuition for next year's in-state freshmen enrolled in general degree programs at Urbana-Champaign campus. Numbers do not include miscellaneous fees or room and board.