The UI Board of Trustees unanimously approved a 5 percent increase in tuition for this coming academic year, the lowest increase for an Illinois public university and less than half the average for public universities across the nation.
"This modest tuition increase won't fill our budget hole, but it helps mitigate the impact of state funding cuts on our students and our core mission," said UI President James J. Stukel at a special meeting at the Chicago campus June 27 to consider tuition and fees.
The tuition increase will mean an additional $133 for undergraduate and $148 for graduate students at Urbana-Champaign, $117 per semester for undergraduates and $135 for graduate students at UIC, and $82 for undergraduates and $75 for graduate students at Springfield.
Students in some undergraduate, graduate and professional programs will pay additional increases and new nonresident undergraduates will pay $1,000 more per semester.
The tuition increases will net about $30 million for the UI, which faces a shortfall of about $93 million in its FY04 operating budget due to cuts in state funding and unavoidable expenses.
The budget will provide merit-based salary increases in a range of 2 to 3 percent for faculty and staff members, but senior administrators will not receive raises. Salaries were frozen for faculty and staff members and administrators last year.
"The salary program needs to include staff members and teaching assistants who work so hard for this university," said Chester Gardner, university vice president for academic affairs.
Even with the tuition increase, the university expects to lose 950 full-time positions, including about 200 full-time faculty members, 375 teaching assistants and 100 instructors/lecturers. The university also anticipates having to eliminate about 850 course sections and increase enrollment in at least 400 classes.
The budget process was complicated by a decrease in state financial aid programs and a law passed by the Illinois General Assembly, effective in 2004, that will require state universities to maintain tuition rates for entering students during four years of study.
Funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) was cut for fifth-year students, but the Illinois Student Assistance Commission has said it will fund fifth-year MAP students in FY04. However, the scholarship commission will reduce MAP awards overall by 5 percent, for a maximum of about $250 per student.
Trustees also approved increases in housing, student fees and health insurance rates.
"The total cost of attending the University of Illinois – tuition, room and board and fees – will go up by 4.4 percent on average," Stukel said.
Urbana-Champaign student fees will increase by $20 per semester, Chicago by $18 per semester, and Springfield by $15 per semester.
Housing costs will go up 4.5 percent per semester at Urbana-Champaign, 3 percent at Chicago, and 2.1 percent at Springfield.
Health insurance rates will remain the same at Urbana-Champaign but will increase at Chicago from $315 to $363 per semester and from $141 to $194 at Springfield.
Stukel said he decided to withdraw a recommendation for an 8 percent tuition increase after consulting with the trustees. However, several board members expressed concerns that the 5 percent increase will be too low.
Trustee Frances Carroll said she was worried that students will not be able to get the classes they need to graduate and will end up spending another semester in school.
Gardner said the university will work to make sure students can take the classes they need to graduate.
Keely Stewart, Urbana-Champaign student trustee, said a survey on his campus found that students are willing to pay a tuition increase to maintain quality of education.
"A majority of students said they were willing to pay the 8 percent increase if it meant classes were not lost," Stewart said.
Arthur Moore, Springfield's student representative, agreed. "Students at UIS are willing to pay more to get the university where it needs to be," he said. "Students knew that this was coming. I'm worried that 8 percent at my campus is not going to be enough."
Trustee Marjorie Sodemann also said she supported an 8 percent increase. "With the 5 percent we will manage, of course, but I'm afraid that students will not be able to graduate in a timely manner," Sodemann said. "If we continue on the current path of funding, we must accept responsibility for the downward spiral and erosion of the university."
"Looking out for the university's interests also requires compromise, and reaching our goals is an incremental process," Stukel said. "I have said repeatedly, the name of the game here is quality – retaining the best faculty and staff; attracting the brightest students; providing the best education; and conducting the highest level research. I believe today's action is a step in the right direction toward preserving the quality of our core missions."
2004 costs per
(4.5 percent overall increase)
(4.3 percent overall increase)
(4.2 percent increase)