Removing tuition waivers not the best way to save money

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

For University of Illinois employees, as well as employees at public universities across the state, tuition waivers are a major perk to their job because it provides helpful benefits in regards to paying for their children’s education. 

Recently, state Rep. Jack Franks, D-63, proposed a bill ending half-price tuition waivers for employees of public universities in the state of Illinois. This would take away tuition waivers for all applicable students starting in the fall of 2015. Fortunately, however, current students would not be affected. 

According to Franks, this would save the state $10 million. But this would not necessarily be $10 million well saved.

Half-price tuition waivers are one of the best benefits offered to University employees. 

Many University employees often take less pay than they would make in the private sector, and tuition waivers help make up that lost compensation.

University employees rely on this benefit. They plan for college expenses with the half-price waiver in mind and their children may often make college choices based on these waivers as well. 

As noted in The Daily Illini, Sam LeRoy, son of a professor in Labor and Employment Relations, said the proposal “makes the difference of anywhere between 10 to 15 thousand dollars per year at the University of Illinois. That’s quite a bit of money and probably would have played a factor in my decision to come to the University.” 

If these waivers were to be taken away now, University employees with high school-aged children would be given little to no time to save the money to help make up for the gap in cost created by cutting this waiver.

Because the waiver is given to people who have been employed with public universities for more than seven years, it isn’t given to every single employee — it is only given to clearly dedicated employees who have given their time to the institution. 

It’s not like parents just come here the summer before their children come to college and take advantage of the system.

That being said, the waiver does help with recruiting. If someone wants to work at a public university and decides to settle down and raise a family, the waiver is an attractive option for getting them to choose Champaign.

In the end, when employees are promised something, that promise should be upheld. If this were to be taken away — which it shouldn’t be — it should be taken away for new hires. Parents who have been relying on this to put their children through college shouldn’t have this taken away from them.