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U of I approves base tuition freeze for in-state freshmen
Move holds rates steady for third straight year

January 19, 2017  

CHICAGO – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved tuition rates for next fall with no increase in base tuition for in-state freshmen, extending a tuition freeze at its three universities to a third straight year.

The freeze is the longest since tuition rates held steady for four years in the mid-1970s – from 1974-77 – and was approved despite a budget impasse that has significantly reduced state funding for the U of I System for the last two years.

President Tim Killeen said the extended tuition freeze reflects a commitment to access and affordability that has helped increase System-wide enrollment to record highs for the last two years, topping 81,000 students last fall.

“Our affordability efforts serve both students and the public good – providing the high-quality education that transforms students’ lives and collectively supplying the next-generation workforce that is essential to drive progress for our state and nation,” Killeen said.

Base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall will match rates for the 2014-15 academic year – $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago, and $9,405 in Springfield. In Chicago, a tuition differential for all freshmen enrolled in business administration will increase by $150 a year. The differential helps fund two centers supported by students to develop job skills. There will be no change in differentials for other Chicago academic units or for units in Urbana-Champaign and Springfield. Differentials cover the additional costs of providing the highest-quality education in selected areas of study.

For out-of-state and international freshmen, base tuition will increase by 1.8 percent next fall in Urbana-Champaign. Out-of-state rates will remain unchanged in Chicago, with a 2 percent increase for international freshmen. Out-of-state and international rates will stay at current levels in Springfield, with a $20 per credit hour increase in administration fees for online programs.

Tuition rates for incoming students will remain unchanged for four years under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, launched in 2004 to help students and families plan for the cost of a public university education by fixing tuition rates for the four years required to complete most undergraduate degree programs.

The U of I System also has proposed holding the line on future tuition rates through a groundbreaking bill introduced in the Illinois legislature last November. The proposed U of I Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment (IPAC) would provide predictable state funding for university operations over the next five years in exchange for tangible performance goals that support Illinois students and serve the needs of the state. If approved, the measure would hold tuition increases to the rate of inflation or less for the five years of the agreement, while also providing high levels of student financial aid.

Over the last decade, the University has ramped up internal efforts to protect the most financially vulnerable students, increasing institutional financial aid more than fourfold to $84 million annually. Through state, federal, University and donor-provided financial aid, half of undergraduates pay less than full sticker price across the System’s three universities.

Undergraduate fees/Housing

The board also approved mandatory student fees and room-and-board rates for the 2017-17 academic year.

Student fees exclude optional student health insurance rates, which are typically established in March. Fees approved Thursday help fund costs such as operating campus recreational facilities, student unions, career services, athletics, counseling centers and libraries, and also help with facility maintenance, renovations and utilities.

Mandatory fees in Urbana-Champaign will increase 0.5 percent, or $16, to $3,038 a year. In Chicago, fees will increase 1.3 percent, or $40, to $3,132 a year. Costs in Springfield will increase 10.4 percent, or $210, to $2,226 annually, through an increase that will take effect in the spring 2018 semester to support student-approved fees for a new student union and environmental sustainability projects.

Proposed undergraduate room-and-board costs will stay at current levels in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago. Costs in Urbana-Champaign, based on the standard double-occupancy room and meal plan, will remain at $10,612 per year. In Chicago, the cost for a standard double-occupancy room and meal plan will remain at $10,960 per year. In Springfield, a standard housing and gold meal plan will increase 0.6 percent, or $60, to $10,810 per year.

Supplier diversity

The board also approved raising goals for spending with businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities.

The move follows recent changes under the state’s Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females and Persons with Disabilities Act, which was created to promote vendor diversity and sets goals to ensure that businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities are included in the procurement process.

New state guidelines increased goals for businesses owned by minorities and women from 10 percent to 20 percent of total spending for construction projects, matching the 20 percent goal already in place for non-construction contracts awarded by state agencies and universities.

U of I System goals on construction contracts will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Springfield and at the System’s satellite campuses in Peoria and Rockford.

Goals will exceed state guidelines at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), with a high aspirational goal of 30 percent for construction projects. Officials say opportunities to impact underserved communities are greater at UIC because most vendors certified under the state’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP) are based in Chicago.

The measure approved by the board also encourages university administrators to look beyond supplier diversity by setting workforce diversity goals on certain U of I construction projects, which officials say would help expand opportunities for minority and female workers.

In addition, the board also set a U of I System goal that 3 percent of state contracts be awarded to small businesses owned by military veterans and disabled veterans, which mirrors goals set by the state to promote opportunities for Illinois veterans.


The board approved the appointment of longtime faculty member and administrator Feng Sheng Hu as the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) in Urbana-Champaign.

Hu, who has served a designate dean since Jan. 1, joined the Urbana-Champaign faculty in 1998. He is a professor of plant biology and Ralph E. Grim Professor in geology, and also has served as associate dean for life and physical sciences in LAS since 2014. From 2008 to 2014, he served as head of the Department of Plant Biology.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Xiamen University, a master’s degree in botany from the University of Maine and a Ph.D. in ecosystem science from the University of Washington.

He succeeds Barbara J. Wilson, who was appointed as executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the U of I System in September.

Trustees also approved the appointment of Lorraine M. Conroy as interim dean of the School of Public Health at UIC, effective Feb. 1.

She will succeed Paul Brandt-Rauf, who headed the school for nine years and will take office Feb. 1 as dean of the School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems at Drexel University.

Conroy has served as the school’s senior associate dean since 2012, and is a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental science and physiology from Harvard University. 


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 81,000 students, more than 24,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.


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