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January 5, 2018       

U of I System recommends extending in-state tuition freeze
Proposal would hold undergraduate rates flat for fourth straight year

CHICAGO –The University of Illinois System has proposed extending a tuition freeze for in-state freshmen to a fourth straight year next fall, matching its longest consecutive rate freeze in more than four decades, President Tim Killeen announced today.

The hold-the-line tuition recommendation for the system’s universities in Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign will be reviewed Jan. 17 by the Board of Trustees’ Academic and Student Affairs and Governance, Personnel and Ethics committees. The proposal will go to the full board at its Jan. 18 meeting in Chicago.

Killeen said the initiative reflects a commitment to access and affordability that has helped drive up system-wide enrollment by 6.6 percent to a record 83,711 students since the fall of 2014, when tuition last increased. That includes 2,213 more in-state undergraduates, which increased 5.2 percent across the system from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2017.

“This proposal will help keep doors of opportunity open for Illinois students and hold down costs to keep them here at home to study and to use their talents to move our state forward after they graduate,” he said.

If approved, the ongoing tuition freeze would equal a four-year run of flat rates from 1974 to 1977.

Tuition rates for incoming students from Illinois would remain unchanged for four years under the state’s guaranteed tuition law. The measure was 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.

Nationwide, tuition and fees rose by an average 3.1 percent at four-year public colleges and universities for the current academic year, based on the latest survey by the College Board, a non-profit association representing U.S. colleges and universities. Along with the tuition freeze, mandatory fee increases of less than 1 percent have been proposed for next year across the U of I System.

During the first three years of the U of I freeze, tuition and fees have increased by an average 9 percent among four-year public colleges and universities, according to the College Board. Over that same period, the Consumer Price Index rose by 2.8 percent.

Base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall would match rates that have held steady since the 2014-15 academic year – $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago, and $9,405 in Springfield. There also will be no change to tuition differentials at any of the universities. Differentials cover the additional costs of providing the highest-quality education in selected areas of study.

Under the proposal, tuition for out-of-state and international freshmen would increase by 1.6 percent next fall in Urbana-Champaign. A new $750 per semester differential also is proposed for international students in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Revenue from this new differential would be split between program initiatives and scholarships for first-generation, under-represented and need-based Illinois students.

In Chicago, base tuition would increase by 1.5 percent for most out-of-state freshmen and by 1.4 percent for those who qualify under a program for high-achieving, out-of-state students. International rates would increase by 1.6 percent.

Rates for non-resident freshmen would remain unchanged in Springfield.

Tuition would increase for some graduate and professional programs in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, but would remain at current levels in Springfield.

Killeen said the proposals reflect a commitment to student affordability and access that was reaffirmed in a new Strategic Framework adopted in 2016 that sets high-aspiration goals to build on the U of I System’s service to students and the public good.

The U of I System also has proposed limiting future increases through a bill pending in the Illinois legislature. 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.

Over the last decade, the U of I System has ramped up internal efforts to protect the most financially vulnerable students, increasing annual need-based financial aid more than fourfold to nearly $90 million.  Total institutional aid – including tuition waivers, grants, scholarships and fellowships – is nearly $220 million a year. 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 committees will also review proposed mandatory student fees and room-and-board rates for the 2018-19 academic year during their Jan. 17 meetings.

The proposal excludes transportation fees and optional student health insurance rates, which will be set in the spring. Fees reviewed by the committee 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.

If approved by trustees, those mandatory fees would increase 0.7 percent, or $20, to $3,058 a year in Urbana-Champaign. In Chicago, fees would increase 0.4 percent, or $14, to $3,146 a year. No new increases are proposed for Springfield, though annual fees will increase by $200 next year to $2,426. The increase reflects the first full year of a student-approved fee to help finance a new student union that takes effect with the spring 2018 semester.

Proposed undergraduate room-and-board costs would stay at current levels in Urbana-Champaign, where the standard double-occupancy room and meal plan would remain at $10,612 per year. Similar to the guaranteed four-year tuition policy, room-and-board costs in Urbana-Champaign are locked in for up to four years if students continue to live in campus residence halls.

In Chicago, the cost for a standard double-occupancy room and meal plan would increase 1 percent to $11,070 per year. In Springfield, a standard housing and gold meal plan would remain unchanged at $10,810 per year.  


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 83,000 students, nearly 25,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 22,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.