Board of Trustees approves tuition freeze, revised background check policy


Tuition

Illinois residents who are admitted to the University in February are now guaranteed the same tuition rate as current first-year students.ch

The Board of Trustees voted in favor of a University recommendation not to raise in-state tuition for incoming students at its regular meeting Thursday, holding tuition rates at $12,036. Students who enroll in fall 2016 will have their tuition rate locked in for four years.

“Our highest priority is our students, ensuring access to a high-quality education that will transform their lives and supply the 21st century workforce that is essential to drive progress and prosperity for our state and nation,” said President Timothy Killeen.

Trustees stated the decision reflected the University’s commitment to providing its students with an affordable, accessible education.

According to a press release, though the University would like to freeze tuition again in future years, less state funding and additional, unnamed factors, could lead to “more significant” tuition increases.

Despite the unchanged tuition rate, room-and-board will increase 2.7 percent, or $280, to $10,612. Students who choose to live in University residence halls for multiple years receive the same rate each year.

Additionally, student fees on the Urbana campus will remain relatively unchanged, increasing 0.1 percent, or $4, to $3,092. The $4 transportation services increase was approved in a student referendum in November.

Background checks

The board also approved a revised background check policy, after the policy was implemented in September. After faculty members raised concerns about the policy, including concerns about the fairness and intentions of the policy. Jackson Lewis, a Chicago employment law firm, reviewed the revised policy and found it in line with federal and state law, according to the board’s Governance, Personnel and Ethics Committee.

“This policy was born out of our responsibility to protect our students and our taxpayers, not out of any effort to chill the employment prospects of people with felony records who are moving on with their lives,” said Trustee Patrick Fitzgerald. “I’m a big believer in second chances and think we owe it to society to help reintegrate people who have earned the right to put the problems of their past behind them.”

The policy was revised by an ad hoc group established by Killeen. According to a University press release, the group’s revisions “sharpen the policy’s focus on safety, clear up ambiguities and distinguish between criminal background checks and other pre-employment background checks.”

The ad hoc group also ensured that the policy will be implemented in accordance with the University’s mission and guided by principles that support diversity.

The policy, which will apply to all new faculty members, academic professionals and civil service employees, does not allow background checks to be conducted before an offer of employment is extended and accepted.

Undergraduate and graduate student workers, volunteers, contract employees and people appointed to unpaid positions will not have to undergo a background check, unless assigned to a security sensitive position or are working with minors.

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