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Four years at University of Illinois will top $100,000

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 11:41 p.m.CDT • Updated: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 11:43 p.m.CDT

CHAMPAIGN – In-state students enrolling this fall at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus will have to pay more than $100,000 for four years on campus.

University trustees on Thursday in Chicago approved increases in tuition, housing and other costs at all three campuses. Those increases will push the total expense into six figures for students starting classes next fall at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Current students at the university’s three campuses won’t be affected because Illinois law guarantees that public university students will pay the same rate of tuition their first four years in school.

The 1.7 percent boost in tuition, university officials said, is in line with a policy started by trustees three years ago to hold increases to the rate of inflation. It also matches last year’s increase, which was the smallest since 1994. Increases in recent years had been as high as 9 percent.

This year’s increases, university officials say, are needed to keep up with the university’s own rising costs for labor and other expenses and to make up for relatively low levels of state funding. The state provides about 30 percent of the university’s $5.6 billion budget. Tuition makes up just over 19 percent.

“The proposed increases allow us to hold down student costs, therefore enabling us to improve access and affordability,” Christophe Pierre, the university’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, told trustees before they voted. “At the same time, this modest increase will bring in additional revenues to the university and will allow us to continue investing in academic quality.”

Trustees approved the increase without comment, but rising costs were clearly on their minds.

During a discussion about six-year graduation rates at the University of Illinois-Chicago, trustee Ricardo Estrada asked the campus’ vice chancellor for academic affairs, Lon Kaufman, about cutting down the time students spend in school to save them money.

“(Given) the increasing cost of education at publics and privates, when do we start talking about four-year graduation rates instead of six-year graduation rates?” Estrada asked.

Kaufman said summer classes could help cut down the time required for a degree, but summer financial aid is often hard to come by.

Starting with the fall semester, the annual tuition for in-state students will be $12,036 in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.

Annual housing costs would increase to $10,180 in Urbana-Champaign, $10,518 in Chicago and $10,650 in Springfield.

The Urbana-Champaign campus is the university’s largest with 44,900 students – about 58 percent of the 78,100 total – and, in terms of tuition, its most expensive.

The combination of tuition and housing plus almost $1,500 in student fees, a yet-to-be-set health insurance fee that this year is $254 and the $1,200 the university estimates undergraduate students spend on textbooks will put the total bill for a year on campus just over $25,000. That cost will be more for students in more expensive majors such as engineering and far more for out-of-state students.

Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus has some of the highest tuition and fees in the Big Ten. During the current school year, only Penn State was more expensive at $16,992 a year, compared with the average $15,258 at Illinois, according to University of Illinois data.

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