Killeen would like to hold line on tuition

Killeen would like to hold line on tuition

CHICAGO — In-state tuition would be capped at current levels if University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen has his way, but at the moment "that's a very big question mark," he said Wednesday.

"Depending on what happens with the state, we're really in a situation where we need to restrain any tuition growth for Illinois residents," Killeen said.

UI trustees typically act on tuition in January, but the board's Academic and Student Affairs Committee held a preliminary tuition discussion Wednesday.

Killeen said he is hopeful the state budget impasse can be resolved before that January board meeting.

Freshman tuition did not go up this year at the UI, with a base rate of $12,036, and it increased by just 1.7 percent each of the previous two years.

Still, the UI's tuition and fees are second-highest in the Big Ten, aside from Northwestern.

"I would hope and expect that we can continue a freeze on tuition growth," Killeen said in a brief interview following the meeting. "It is dependent on what transpires with the state, to some degree, although there are other factors that contribute to the bottom line."

Administrators discussed other ways to increase tuition income without raising in-state rates — pointing to the growth in higher-priced graduate and professional programs in Chicago and Springfield, for example, and the growth in out-of-state and international students at Urbana.

The latter is a politically sensitive topic, with legislators complaining about the falling percentage of Illinois residents at the UI over the years.

That decline was reversed with this year's freshman class, however, following a concerted effort to recruit more Illinois residents.

Killeen, who has called for expanding the UI's enrollment overall, said the key will be to continue to grow the in-state numbers as well.

Figures show that out-of-state students have accounted for much of the growth in tuition income at the Urbana campus over the past decade. Income from tuition doubled from about $300 million in fiscal 2006 to more than $650 million this year, but the majority of that was from non-Illinois residents, according to Christophe Pierre, vice president for academic affairs. Those students now contribute half of all undergraduate tuition income at Urbana while making up about a quarter of undergraduate enrollment, he said.

"We're really carefully looking at the trends, the numbers, the options, the scenarios," Killeen said.

"If we cap that critical piece — what it costs an Illinois, middle-class family to come to the University of Illinois — our overall budget can still grow," Killeen said.

Trustee Patricia Brown-Holmes wondered whether college tuition across the country has reached a "saturation" point.

"I think we're very close to that," Killeen replied, noting that tuition consumes a sizable chunk of median family income.

Regarding the recent investigation into UI athletics, Killeen said the report from the Franczek Radelet law firm made for "disappointing reading," but he was pleased by its comprehensiveness.

"We needed to get to the bottom of the allegations. That has been done in a fulsome and transparent way," he said. "The materials are out there for everybody to look at."

"We are recommitting intensively to excellence, integrity, student-centeredship on everything we do," he said.

Asked about the decision to fire Athletic Director Mike Thomas, Killeen deferred to interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson.

"I'm fully in support of her decision. We are interacting regularly," he said, adding that Wilson is "taking very much the lead role in deciding the action going forward."

Killeen is expected to address the issue in his remarks at the full Board of Trustees meeting today in Chicago.

On today's agenda

Salaita settlement: Details of the legal settlement with Steven Salaita will be made public when the board votes on the agreement, but it's not expected to include a UI job. Salaita, a former Virginia Tech professor, sued the UI after he lost his tenured faculty appointment in August 2014 following his controversial tweets about Israel.

Killeen's contract: This item would strike a $225,000 retention bonus, payable after five years, from the UI president's contract. Timothy Killeen opted to remove the perk after the UI came under fire for initially agreeing to give former Chancellor Phyllis Wise a $400,000 retention payment when she resigned in August.

Interim AD: Trustees will act on the appointment of Paul Kowalczyk as interim athletic director, following the departure of Mike Thomas on Monday. Kowalczyk, who has been senior associate athletic director, will be paid $295,000.

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casemaker wrote on November 12, 2015 at 7:11 am

Such a high cost...does the UI publish a true placement stat for the graduates ?   One where the student graduated from the school of law and then was placed in a law firm as an intern practicing law ?  Graduates that are not employed in their area of study or were under employed (part-time or a lessor role) would not count.   Using a law student is not a good example because they only have a 22% placement rate after graduating from a school of law.  (that is a national statistic).   

cornhole wrote on November 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

Law schools are unique because they are required by the American Bar Association (ABA) to publish data such as attrition, graduation, and placement rates and other consumer information to maintain their ABA accreditation. More information is on the ABA website if you're curious 

No other degree programs that either UIUC or any that any other univerisities are required to publish placement rates like a law school. However, institutions that use federal funding are required to disclose loan default rates (2014 Daily Illini article w/ info about UIUC, Big Ten schools, and national average) and graduation rates

kiel wrote on November 12, 2015 at 7:11 am

In-state tuition has risen nearly 100% in the past decade. Out-of-state only about 50%. Non-refundable fees have risen over 100%. Room and board over 30%, and books/supplies about 20%. So in-state students have felt every single one of these largest increases over the past decade. Given these numbers, I would hope that in-state tuition would be capped. I mean, the U gets so little state funding anymore, if we price IL residents out of an education, what's the point of being called a "state" school? Maybe President Killeen should explore going private. The Governor and politicians in Springfield don't seem to value the University of Illinois system, anyway. If they did, there would be a budget.

jwr12 wrote on November 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

"the U gets so little state funding anymore, if we price IL residents out of an education"

Just wanted to pause to meditate on the connection between these two propositions.  Voters who want subsidized in state rates need to pressure their government to subsidize them.  Instead, voters have been consistently, if not always consciously, privatizing the university, by allowing their representatives to create a pension crisis that in turn has beome a funding crisis, that they now are beginning to feel on their own skin as a tuition crisis.  Private universities are expensive and elitist; if the public wants something else, then they need to insist on a functioning and adequately funded state government.

cornhole wrote on November 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

"Still, the UI's tuition and fees are second-highest in the Big Ten, aside from Northwestern."

This lead into the article from the N-G homepage is entirely inaccurate. Penn State has had higher in-state tution and fees than Illinois for years, including this year:

Illinois has third-highest rate for in-state students in Big Ten. 

Rising tuition and fees is not an issue unique to UIUC or just public universities in the State of Illinois. There are four other states that have higher tuition and fee averages across their public universities than the State of Illinois. Just look at data from The College Board on average 4-year public tuition and fees accross the country. 21 states have rates that are higher than the national average for tuition and fees.

Simply put, the State of Illinois does not fund public higher education as they should and they are not unique among their peers in the Union in their stance of placing the burden of the cost on students and families.

casemaker wrote on November 12, 2015 at 11:11 am

This is just my personal observation but what i have seen is a huge disconnect between what a 4 year college offers and what the job market has to offer.   I know of far too many people driving trucks as well as working in tire or mechanic shops that have a 4 year degree from very good colleges. 

I think that as far as taxpayer money it would be better spent on 2 years schools and that are more in tune to the job market and are more affordable.  I would be willing to bet that employment placement rates for two year colleges are much higher than four year schools.

Look at how much a professor makes at the UI compared to a teacher makes at Parkland or even high school.  The UI is just a reflection of the state govemnt and their underhanded tactics.