Board of trustees tries to ‘hold the line’ against tuition hikes

The Board of Trustees will meet Thursday, Jan. 20, to “hold the line” against declining funds from the state at the University of Illinois in Chicago, or UIC.

The board will vote on a number of agenda items ranging from an “Art-in-Architecture” program to addressing future tuition increases.

Among the proposals to come forward to the board to vote on are the increases in student fees and room and board.

“If you look at the proposed rates, you can see that the board is trying to hold the line as best as they can,” said Thomas Hardy, University spokesperson.

Under the current proposal, the cost for new contracts in undergraduate housing at the Urbana campus is to increase by 4 percent, a $366 increase for a standard double room. Undergraduate housing rates at the Chicago campus are proposed to increase by 2 percent, which equates to around $200 for the Chicago residence halls. According to Hardy, however, about half of the increases to housing costs at the Urbana campus are due to an ongoing 30-year program to replace or refurbish all of the student housing residences on campus, as seen by the recent construction in the Ikenberry Commons.

Also under consideration is a recommendation for a 0.8 percent increase in student fees at the Urbana campus, a $12 increase. The proposed changes to these fees in combination with room and board will result in a price tag of $12,336, which compared to the non-tuition-based fees for this year’s freshmen of $11,946 is a 3.26 percent increase.

This “hold the line” rhetoric is further embodied by the board’s single item that concerns tuition rates, citing that “resources from the State of Illinois have declined dramatically.” The resolution on tuition rate recommendations says efforts will be made to minimize the inevitable tuition hikes.

“The University’s ongoing costs reduction efforts shall be taken into account when determining any tuition rate recommendation,” according to the resolution that the board is expected to approve Thursday.

“It aspires to a concept of being able to hold the line on tuition at an inflation-adjusted level,” Hardy said about the resolution.

The board is expected to address the issue of rising costs of tuition for 2012’s batch of incoming students when it reconvenes for its March 23rd meeting in Springfield.

Also to come forward is an approval for an estimated $9.85 million in funds for health care consulting services for UIC Medical Center.

A proposal for an “Art-in-Architecture” policy will also come under consideration, which would require future construction projects to devote 0.5 percent of building funds for the purchase of art, according to the resolution, which says “art is a vital expression of the University community.”

The Board of Trustees meeting will begin at 8 a.m. in the UIC Student Center West, Chicago Rooms B & C, 828 S. Wolcott Ave., Chicago, Ill.