The Daily Illini

Editorial: UI makes bold, honorable decision to freeze in-state tuition

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Yet again, tuition at the University won’t be increasing. Thankfully (and somewhat surprisingly), the state of Illinois’ nonexistent budget didn’t force the University’s hand in raising tuition.SO

Let’s back track. On Thursday, the University approved for the second year in a row keeping tuition at $12,036 for Illinois residents. SOThis means that for the second year in a row, the University has graciously halted a trend that students are seeing across the nation — tuition hikes.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, annual tuition at four-year public institutions has increased by 29 percent since the 2007-08 school year (after adjusting for inflation)SO. When looking specifically at Illinois, average tuition from 2008 to 2015 has increased by approximately 22.9 percent, making them No. 27 when compared nationally.SO

Some states’ tuition hikes are beyond jarring though. In the same timespan, Arizona raised its average tuition by 83.6 percent; Hawaii by 70 percent; and Georgia by 69.5 percent.SO http://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/years-of-cuts-threaten-to-put-college-out-of-reach-for-more-students

So the fact that the University managed to freeze its tuition for the upcoming year is, well, incredible. The University put its student first with this decision, especially at a time when programs are being cut, MAP grants may not be provided and no raises have been provided.

“We’re doing all we can to be as cost-effective as we can,” Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson told The Daily Illini’s Editorial Board two weeks ago. “I think the whole financial model of higher ed. is changing, and we have to be responsive to that. We can’t just keep increasing our tuition and expecting to stay a public institution and to be accessible to students from all backgrounds.”

We may have some concerns when looking at tuition in the coming years, just as we believe the administration may. We need a state budget to provide a good education, and the University protected the availability and access that was already established at the University.

The University did approve a 1.7 percent increase of tuition for out-of-state and international studentsSO. Although some, particularly student senators that proposed “a tuition-equality resolution,” believe there’s a need for increased tuition by the same percentage so that out-of-state students feel more valued. The tuition freeze marks a recognition by a university that’s been criticized in the past of not building a solid foundation of in-state students.

Let’s be clear: It may not be a perfect solution, but in a state where many in-state institutions and other programs are facing possible closures, The Daily Illini Editorial Board thanks the University and the Board of Trustees for the move — the University put its students first with this decision.

Correction:
In a previous version of this article, it was referenced that Eastern Illinois University was facing possible closures, which is inaccurate. Eastern’s President David Glassman sent a letter Monday addressing the campus stating: “We will continue to provide our students excellent learning, service and research opportunities without diminishing academic excellence during the current semester and for many years to come.” The Daily Illini regrets the error.

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