UI trustees approve 4.8 percent tuition increase

UI trustees approve 4.8 percent tuition increase

UPDATED 5 p.m.

CHICAGO - Tuition for incoming freshmen will rise by 4.8 percent next fall under new rates approved Thursday by University of Illinois trustees today, with only the student trustees voting no.

The tuition rates for 2012-13 had been released Thursday morning, just hours before the vote.

Basic freshman undergraduate tuition at the Urbana campus will rise by $532 a year, to $11,636. Students in engineering and other disciplines will pay more through “differentials,” up to $16,566 a year.

The rates will not increase for four years for freshmen entering after May 2012, under the state’s guaranteed tuition law.

Student Trustee Kenneth Thomas of Chicago, who holds the vote for all three student trustees, voted against the tuition increase, citing a growing gap between tuition and financial aid.

The board also approved new housing rates and student fee increases that, combined with tuition, will raise total costs for UI students at the Urbana campus by 3.3 percent.

Fees will total $2,882 a year, $10 more than this year, and a standard room and board plan will cost $9,688, up $236.

The Illinois Student Senate opposed the fee changes in a resolution adopted Wednesday night, as the new fee structure consolidates seven refundable fees with two other fees into a new, slightly lower mandatory fee of $64.

But Hannah Ehrenberg, student trustee for the Urbana campus, said she felt there had been adequate consultation with student groups about the change, which means students can no longer get a refund on those fees.

"As part of this change, it's giving some power back to students and creating oversight committees for all these fees. I think it's positive," she said.

Several trustees spoke about the need to improve financial aid, particularly for middle-income families who don't qualify for most grants.

UI President Michael Hogan noted that tuition increases have been declining, from 9.5 percent two years ago to under 5 percent this year.

The latest increase was based on the Higher Education Price Index, which rose 1.9 percent his year. To maintain that increase over the next four years under the guaranteed tuition law required an initial hike of 4.8 percent, administrators said.

The board adopted a policy last year promising to hold tuition increases to the cost of living, “assuming constant state support," Hogan said.

“We’d like to continue our current policy, which addresses the most important issue of accessibility, but ... much depends on the future of state funding,” Hogan said. “It continues to look problematic.”

Also Thursday, Christopher Kennedy was unanimously re-elected to his third full term as chairman of the UI Board of Trustees.

Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was first elected chair after being appointed to the board in September 2009, when most of the board was replaced following the Category I admissions scandal.

He was re-elected in January 2010 and January 2011.

Trustee James Montgomery nominated Kennedy, saying he has “demonstrated very clearly that he is devoted to the interests of the university (and) has devoted extraordinary personal time and energy to the university’s functions.”

Trustees Edward McMillan and Pamela Strobel were also re-elected to the board’s executive committee.

The board's bylaws state that the board chair is expected to serve "two consecutive terms of one year each."

Kennedy said board members discussed rotating the chairmanship but wanted to keep him and the current committee chairs in place for another year.



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asparagus wrote on January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

How about a 4.5% reduction in tuition next year for freshmen.  Let's take a 4.5% reduction plus the planned 4.8% increase and find an equivalent to 9.3% (of the amount in question) that can be cut out of the University's real non-academic expenditures.  Out of that 9.3% savings (whatever 9.3% of tuition for the current freshment class comes to) let's then put 3% in the bank for a rainy day.  Let's then tie any future increases to the rate of inflation and take any future state reductions out of the budget. 

I know a savings of at least $200K could be found almost immediately.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Your right.  Do not expect to see Dr. Troyer's $200,000.00 salary to go away.  She will keep her tenure.  The only one who can recind her tenure is Dr. Hogan who insisted that she be hired along with him, and given tenure.  Chris Kennedy is the son of Robert Kennedy; but he fell far away from the family tree.  Neither Kennedy, Hogan, or the faculty will show any ethics regarding recinding Troyer's tenure for ethics violations.  That is the way it is in academia.  Ask any U of I employee their personal opinion about it.  They will tell you that they would have been fired.  After that, they will tell you that there are rules for state employees; but they do not apply to administrators, or the faculty even if they are state employees.  It will be swept under the rug again.  The news has already reached U-Conn.  They are laughing their tails off at the U of I as well they should.