Updated: UI proposes no tuition hike for freshmen

Updated: UI proposes no tuition hike for freshmen

Rates would increase by 2 percent for nonresidents

URBANA — Faced with more Illinois students turning them down, the University of Illinois has proposed keeping tuition rates flat for in-state freshmen who enroll for this fall.

The move was prompted in part by an increasing number of Illinois students who have declined offers of admission to the state's flagship university in recent years and an attempt by the UI to lessen the burden on middle-class students who find themselves not poor enough to qualify for financial aid but not wealthy enough to pay full sticker price for a college education.

UI trustees, President Bob Easter and President-elect Tim Killeen praised the plan, which was detailed Monday at a trustee committee meeting. The proposal will likely be approved next week when the board meets as a whole in Chicago.

Killeen, sitting alongside Easter in Washington, D.C., listened in on the meeting via videoconference.

"I'm supportive of the tuition freeze. I think that will play very well," he said.

"I think we're heading in the right direction," added trustee James Montgomery.

Freshmen from Illinois would pay no increase in the general tuition rate on the university's three campuses. For non-Illinois residents, base tuition rates would increase by 2 percent, according to the proposal. Base tuition for in-state students currently is $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.

Room and board will increase 1.5 percent to $10,332 and student fees will rise 1.1 percent to $3,018 for students enrolling in Urbana this fall, according to the proposal. The total cost to attend the UI for in-state freshmen beginning this fall will be $25,386.

Tuition differentials in five academic units on the Chicago campus will increase slightly, but there will be no differential increases for other Chicago units or in any units on the Urbana-Champaign and Springfield campuses, according to the plan.

"We are trying to make the U of I a more attractive destination for Illinois students from Illinois families," said UI Vice President for Academic Affairs Christophe Pierre.

Many middle-class students and their families have household incomes in a range where they earn too much to qualify for some financial aid, such as state and federal grants, but they don't earn enough income to afford the cost of tuition, he said.

The number of Urbana students in 2013-14 who filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and had household incomes from $30,682 to $121,188 totaled 8,622, or 25.8 percent, according to Dan Mann, the campus's director of financial aid. That's down from 2011-12, when 9,608 students, or 29.27 percent, came from incomes in that same range and applied for aid.

The tuition freeze "is all about increasing access for students from Illinois families," Pierre said.

In 2011, after several years of climbing tuition rates, trustees adopted a policy calling for tuition to essentially track with cost-of-living indices. At that time, they also agreed to start approving tuition and fees during their January board meeting to give students and families more time to plan and compare financial aid packages.

If the proposal is approved, incoming in-state freshmen would pay no base tuition increase for the first time since 1993-94, according to the university.

Keeping tuition flat is an approach that has been adopted by several of the UI's peers. For example, the University of Wisconsin has frozen tuition for two years and Purdue University also has supported flat tuition. Purdue trustees last year extended the freeze through the 2015-16 school year.

According to the College Board, tuition and fees for the 2013-14 academic year increased an average of 2.9 percent at four-year public colleges across the country and by 3.7 percent at private, nonprofit four-year colleges.

Pierre said it was too early to tell what sort of effect the tuition freeze could have on the yield rate, which has declined in recent years among Illinois students. The yield is the percentage of those admitted who actually enrolled.

Offers of admission to students who applied to the Urbana campus will be sent out on Feb. 13.

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Illini Alum wrote on January 06, 2015 at 9:01 am

Wait, if costs were too high last year, and this caused too many (whatever too many is according to the school) high schools grads to go elsewhere, how is having the SAME costs this year going to change anything??


Are these people completely brain dead? Pudue, Minnesota, Michigan State, Indiana and Iowa BURRY Illinois applicants in merit money if their stats are high enough. Don't even get me started on schools like Alabama, Kentucky, Arizona, etc with their massive merit aid for high test scores...


What are these schools doing differently that they can afford to steal all these Illinois students??


Free advice, you want the top students to stay in Illinois?


Get out your checkbook, put up or shut up!