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U. of Illinois Board of Trustees Passes 4.8 Percent Tuition Hike

Tuition for a freshman attending the University of Illinois next fall will go up by 4.8 percent.

The U of I's Trustees voted on the proposal on Thursday at their meeting in Chicago. In a press release, the University notes those rates would be the equivalent of 1.9 percent per year, under a guarantee that the rates would be locked into place for four years.

Under the proposal, in-state tuition at Urbana-Champaign would increase by $532 to $11,636; in Chicago tuition would increase by $468 to $10,232; in Springfield the cost in would increase $420 a year to $9,090.

Housing costs would go up $236 a year to $9,688 in Urbana-Champaign and $198 a year to $10,060 in Chicago. In Springfield, the increase would be $200 a year to $9,870.

U of I Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr said the proposed rates conform to the rate of inflation, while dealing with Illinois' 'troubled' fiscal problems.

The Board of Trustees last year approved a policy to limit tuition increases to no more or less than the rate of inflation. U of I President Michael Hogan acknowledges that tuition increases have dropped, from 9.5 percent two years ago to less than 5 percent this year.

"Now, we'd like to continue our current policy, which addresses the important issue of accessibility, but much depends on the future of state funding, which continues to look problematic," Hogan said.

Hogan said the inflation-based tuition adjustment reflects the Board's commitment to holding down student costs while maintaining the high-quality academic programs that are the hallmark of the university.

"Affordability is critical, but so is an education that opens doors of opportunity for our graduates and paves the way for successful careers that pay lifelong dividends," he said.

Trustee Timothy Koritz said he is hoping to see the tuition levels stay at the same level a year from now.

"I think we need to ask ourselves as a board, 'Could a little bit of runaway spending be part of the equation here?' Koritz said. "I feel that we're obligated to investigate that possibility. We need to hold tuition increases in check if we wish to maintain a great student body."

Koritz suggested the board do its best with whatever funds it has to work with next year.

U-I-C Student Trustee Kenneth Thomas voted against the tuition increase, saying the gap between the amount of that hike and financial aid is too wide.

The U of I Trustees also unanimously re-elected Chris Kennedy to his fourth term as chairman of the Board.

The Trustees meeting comes a week after an investigation wrapped up, connecting the U of I President's former chief of staff as the author of a pair of anonymous emails sent to the University's Faculty Senates Conference.

The messages urged members of the panel not to investigate who leaked their report, which was critical of parts of President Michael Hogan's enrollment management plan.

At the tail end of the Trustees meeting, the chair of Senates Conference spoke about the case on behalf of other faculty senate leaders on all three campuses. Donald Chambers, who teaches biochemistry at UIC, said he believes more people were responsible for the messages.

"Leaders must accept responsibility for what happens on their watch even if they may not have been personally directed or approved of it," Chambers said. "No one can read the investigative report without being shocked by a widespread pattern of secretive and deceptive behavior."

President Hogan and the Trustees didn't respond to Chambers' comments.

The investigation revealed that no other person, including Hogan, had prior knowledge about the anonymous messages. University spokesman Tom Hardy has said this case will not have an impact on Hogan's role at the U of I.

Categories: Education