U of I approves base tuition freeze for in-state freshmen


Piggy bank next to a graduation cap and diplomaThe University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved tuition rates for next fall with no increase in base tuition for in-state freshmen, extending a tuition freeze at its three universities to a third straight year.

The freeze is the longest since tuition rates held steady for four years in the mid-1970s and was approved despite a budget impasse that has significantly reduced state funding for the U of I System for the last two years.

President Tim Killeen said the extended tuition freeze reflects a commitment to access and affordability that has helped increase System-wide enrollment to record highs for the last two years, topping 81,000 students last fall.

“Our affordability efforts serve both students and the public good — providing the high-quality education that transforms students’ lives and collectively supplying the next-generation workforce that is essential to drive progress for our state and nation,” Killeen said.

Base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall will match rates for the 2014–15 academic year — $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago, and $9,405 in Springfield. In Chicago, a tuition differential for all freshmen enrolled in business administration will increase by $150 a year. The differential helps fund two centers supported by students to develop job skills.

Out-of-state rates will remain unchanged in Chicago, with a 2 percent increase for international freshmen.

Tuition rates for incoming students will remain unchanged for four years under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, launched in 2004 to help students and families plan for the cost of a public university education by fixing tuition rates for the four years required to complete most undergraduate degree programs.

The U of I System also has proposed holding the line on future tuition rates through a groundbreaking bill introduced in the Illinois legislature last November. The proposed U of I Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment (IPAC) would provide predictable state funding for university operations over the next five years in exchange for tangible performance goals that support Illinois students and serve the needs of the state. If approved, the measure would hold tuition increases to the rate of inflation or less for the five years of the agreement, while also providing high levels of student financial aid.

The board also approved mandatory student fees and room-and-board rates for the 2017–18 academic year.

At UIC, fees will increase 1.3 percent, or $40, to $3,132 a year. Fees approved Thursday help fund costs such as operating campus recreational facilities, student unions, career services, athletics, counseling centers and libraries, and also help with facility maintenance, renovations and utilities.

Proposed undergraduate room-and-board costs will stay at current levels at UIC, where the cost for a standard
double-occupancy room and meal plan is $10,960 per year.

In other business

• The board also approved raising goals for spending with businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities.

The move follows recent changes under the state’s Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females and Persons with Disabilities Act, which was created to promote vendor diversity. New state guidelines increased goals for businesses owned by minorities and women from 10 percent to 20 percent of total spending for construction projects, matching the 20 percent goal already in place for non-construction contracts awarded by state agencies and universities. Goals will exceed state guidelines at UIC with a high aspirational goal of 30 percent for construction projects.

• Timothy Koritz, who has served on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees since 2009, was elected to a one-year term as board chairman. Koritz is a staff anesthesiologist at Rockford Memorial Hospital and a former clinical assistant professor at the U of I College of Medicine at Rockford. He succeeds Edward McMillan, who will remain on the board after serving for the last two years as chairman.