UI Board proposes no tuition increase for in-state freshmen

The Board of Trustees’ Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities committee is proposing to not increase tuition for in-state incoming freshmen.

If approved at the Board’s Jan. 15 meeting, it will be the first time in two decades that the University will not see an increase in base tuition rates. The proposal would apply to all three campuses, with the only exception being differentials in five academic units on the Chicago campus.

The base tuition for in-state freshman next fall would match rates for the 2014-2015 school year. On the Urbana campus, the tuition rate would remain around $12,036 a year.

Under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, the rate would remain unchanged for four years. The purpose of the fixed tuition rate would be to help families plan better financially for the cost of student education, and to keep the University competitive with peer institutions in student recruitment, according to a news release. 

“The cost of attendance of the University is getting to the point where some of the best students are opting to do something different,” said University spokesman Tom Hardy. “So we want to make sure that we’re maintaining affordability and accessibility as best as we can.”

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Overall, tuition increases at the University have seen a downward trend over the past few years, according to the release. For out-of-state students, tuition rates would increase by about two percent. 

The proposal was discussed at a board meeting held at 1 p.m. Monday at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana. Christophe Pierre, vice president for academic affairs, gave a presentation on the proposal, which was positively received by all. 

The Student Fee Advisory Committee is proposing a $34 increase in student fees, making the 2015-2016 rate $3,018. Room and board was proposed to increase $152 dollars, largely based on inflation, Pierre said. The rate would stand at $10,332. 

Pierre said the board is looking at protecting access and affordability for low-income and middle-class families.

“This includes not only low-income families, but more and more middle class families who aren’t able to pay the cost for tuition as their income is too high to receive financial aid,” Pierre said. 

The board is also looking ahead and preparing for “uncertainty” in revenue, as it is unsure what the state government will fund in future years. Pierre mentioned uncertainty in potentially large state appropriation cuts and potential additional costs for pensions. 

Camille and Megan can be reached at [email protected].