University price tag increases

By Emily Sokolik

A higher quality education is in the works for the next school year, according to the University’s Strategic Plan released in January. Along with a higher quality education comes a higher price tag for tuition.

Tuition is expected to increase $700 or approximately 10 percent for in-state students beginning July 1. Students in the class of 2010 will be subject to the increase to make up for the University’s rising costs. Reactions to the tuition hike varied, but most perspective students were supportive of the proposed increase.

“One of the reasons I chose U of I as a school was because of the low tuition,” said Jessica Min, a Lake Forest, Ill., high school senior who will enter the University in the fall.

While not pleased with the tuition hike, Min said she understands the need.

“I … know that through time tuition costs will rise inevitably because that has been the trend,” Min said.

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The increase in tuition comes primarily as a result of greater expenses, said Chester Gardner, vice president for academic affairs. The tuition hike will bring a variety of new course offerings and a greater amount of faculty and staff, he said. Tuition is assessed every year and has increased each year since 1991. For the 2004-2005 school year, tuition increased by five percent, according to the University’s Web site.

“Our costs are going up, and we’re having a difficult time addressing all the expenses we need to maintain a high quality of education,” Gardner said.

Amanda Palazzo, junior in LAS, is a member of the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee and the Illinois Student Senate budget chair. The committee gathers student input about tuition increases every fall semester. Based on student reaction, the committee makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees regarding tuition.

“A lot of students understand that tuition does have to increase in order to maintain a high quality education,” Palazzo said.

Beginning with the class of 2008, the University instituted a new tuition policy known as the Guaranteed Tuition Program. The policy keeps the price of tuition at the same amount for all four years. The increase will affect the price of tuition for current juniors and freshman entering the University.

In addition, the rise in tuition will have little effect on the amount of federal funding students receive, Gardner said.

“For some of our students whose families have low income, with a higher tuition, their financial need is greater,” he said.

While students have a limited amount of control over the rising costs of a University education, there are some measures that can be taken, Palazzo said. The ISS has organized a student letter writing campaign to state representatives, senators, and the governor to express their opinions about the University’s allocation of state funds.

“Students do have a voice,” Palazzo said.