Tuition increase approved

Tuition increase approved

URBANA – University of Illinois trustees on Tuesday approved a tuition increase and a new student fee that will cover costs of repairing aging buildings on the three campuses.

Beginning with the 2006-07 school year, freshmen enrolled in general degree programs at the Urbana-Champaign campus will pay $3,854 per semester in tuition. That's an increase of about $333 per semester.

The amount will remain fixed for four years for incoming freshmen, according to a state law. It's an increase of 9.4 percent from the amount current freshmen are paying.

"The tuition increase is really equivalent to 3.6 percent per year, which is about at the inflation rate," said UI Vice President for Academic Affairs Chet Gardner, in his presentation to the UI Board of Trustees Tuesday.

The tuition increase will bring in $27 million of new revenue to the university, money that will go toward new course sections, new teaching staff, increasing pay to retain faculty, plus increasing financial aid.

"Most students have no idea why this is happening," said Shumail Alam, student trustee from UI-Chicago about the tuition increase. "We need to let them know why this is happening because of the decrease in funding from the state." He requested student trustees receive tuition information as early as possible so students could hold forums and discuss the topic and contact their state legislators.

The problem with the tuition increase, said Nick Klitzing, UI-Urbana student trustee, is that it could restrict the ability of low- and middle-income students to attend the UI.

He suggested "we divert as much money to financial aid and grant programs as possible."

New fee

Trustees also approved a new student fee of $250 per semester or $500 per year. Money from the Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund will be funneled to repairing and maintaining academic buildings in Champaign-Urbana, Chicago and Springfield.

Presented by UI President B. Joseph White, the proposal calls for spending $800 million in 10 years to eliminate the backlog in projects.

"We must get on top of this problem," White said.

The fee would be phased in over four years and could increase if construction costs rise. It would be prorated for part-time students.

Students at the Springfield campus will pay $8.33 more per credit hour. A motion to postpone a vote on the Springfield increase, introduced by UI-Springfield student trustee Carrie Bauer, failed. Bauer said she wanted more time to research capital expenses at the campuses.

Other student fee increases

Trustees also approved increases in student fees and room and board on all campuses.

Beginning this fall, Urbana students will pay $1,368 in student fees for one academic year, up 4.3 percent. The increase will cover increased costs at McKinley Health Center, plus costs associated with renovating campus recreation facilities.

As for room and board, the price for a single room plus a traditional, 14-meals-per-week board plan for the 2006-07 school year will be $8,248 per year, up 7.5 percent or $576 more per academic year. Prices for doubles and triples will increase 7.5 percent to $7,216 and $6,812, respectively.

These fees are adjusted annually based on the cost of salaries, goods and services and other factors, said Steve Rugg, vice president for administration and comptroller.

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