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SIU board to consider tuition increases

Pulliam+Hall+can+be+seen+Jan.+30%2C+2017%2C+on+the+university%27s+Carbondale+campus.+%28Jacob+Wiegand+%7C+%40jawiegandphoto%29
Pulliam Hall can be seen Jan. 30, 2017, on the university's Carbondale campus. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Pulliam Hall can be seen Jan. 30, 2017, on the university's Carbondale campus. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Pulliam Hall can be seen Jan. 30, 2017, on the university's Carbondale campus. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Luke Nozicka and Bill Lukitsch

The SIU Board of Trustees on Thursday will consider tuition increases for undergraduate and graduate students at the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

If approved, tuition for undergraduate students will rise 3.9 percent and tuition for graduate students will increase 5 percent.

New undergraduate students would pay $9,450 a year for tuition, or $37,800 over four years. That’s an increase of more than $18,000 for a degree compared to fiscal year 2004, when enrollment for earning a bachelor’s degree in four years cost about $19,680.

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With an adjustment for inflation, attending SIUC as an undergraduate was 37 percent costlier in 2014 than it was in 2004 while tuition and fee costs for graduate students became 46 percent more expensive.

In 2004, first-time undergraduate students spent $11,518 on tuition, fees and room and board. During the same year, graduate students spent $5,566 on tuition and fees.

The rise in tuition at public universities is a nationwide trend. As of 2014, the average cost of attendance for first-time undergraduate students was $16,188 at public institutions. Adjusted for inflation, costs at public universities in the nation rose 25 percent for undergraduates.

For graduate students at public universities, the most recent available data was published for the 2012-2013 school year, which showed an average cost of $6,080 for tuition and fees. The inflation-adjusted cost rose 42 percent during that time period.

Without SIU’s proposed tuition increase, university officials wrote in the board agenda, “the quality of educational opportunities for students would be diminished.”

The paperwork also proposes eliminating out-of-state and alternative tuition rates for undergraduate students. This means all incoming undergraduates in fall 2017 would pay in-state tuition rates, as students from bordering states already do. This would not apply to graduate and international students.

This is in an effort to remedy confusion and strengthen recruitment efforts at the campus that has seen a generally consistent decline of students in the last decade, university officials wrote in the agenda.

At its peak in fall 1991, enrollment at SIUC totaled 24,869. In fall 2016, the campus recorded 15,987 students, the lowest recorded number since 1965.

At SIU-Edwardsville, most undergraduate students would see a 5 percent increase in tuition. The proposed rate increase for graduate students is 4 percent.

SIUE’s School of Pharmacy and Accelerated Nursing Program would remained unchanged.

The university system’s governing board is also expected to consider an increase in room and board rates and fees.

The fee increases for student housing were first proposed during the board’s meeting in December. That revenue was originally earmarked as startup money for a $257 million plan to replace Schneider Hall, Mae Smith Hall and Neely Hall with new dorms over 10 years.

If approved, new students will pay an extra 6 percent each semester for living in Thompson Point, the towers on East Campus and University Hall. Students at Wall & Grand Apartments and Evergreen Terrace would see an increase of 3 percent.

Without these increases, “repairs and renovations to aging housing facilities will not be possible,” officials wrote in the agenda.

The plan originally presented to the board was tabled for further discussion because of uncertainties about its funding. Trustees at the time said the matter would be revisited with the intention of finalizing the project. The item up for a vote Thursday would allow the university to enter a public-private partnership to pay for the new housing.

However, university officials are worried the increasing cost “may affect access to the university.”

The proposal also asks for a 1.9 percent increase to the university’s dining hall plans.

Staff writer Luke Nozicka can be reached at 618-536-3325, [email protected] on Twitter @lukenozicka.

To stay up to date with all your SIU news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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The student news site of Southern Illinois University