Trustees approve tuition, fee increases

By Karsten Burgstahler

Karsten Burgstahler

Daily Egyptian

The fall semester’s incoming freshmen now have an exact tuition rate to factor into their financial planning.


The university’s Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to increase SIUC’s tuition rate 3 percent to $8,414. The board voted unanimously to raise SIU-Edwardsville’s tuition rate 5 percent to $7,295. Trustees also voted unanimously on $78 in  SIUC student fee increases. The tuition agenda item was introduced as 5 percent for both universities during the board’s full meeting. However, after debate the trustees settled on the end 3 percent increase. Hamilton and Wiley voted against the newly proposed increases.

Chancellor Rita Cheng originally proposed a 5 percent increase and SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe  a 7 percent increase to the board but the board’s finance committee voted to recommend a 5 percent increase for both campuses. Trustee David Hamilton agreed with the 5 percent across-the-board tuition increase, as some students have already made their enrollment decision before they knew the final tuition rate.

“At this late juncture, most of our students out there made their decision, and they made it based on the estimate of the 5 percent number,” he said.

Trustee Donna Manering recommended the board consider a 3 percent increase for the sake of attracting students. Wiley said she believes students are more concerned with program quality than the 2 percent tuition difference.

“I will bet more students (will) make the decision based on whether or not (their) area of interest is highly supported at this university,” she said.

However, new trustee chairman Randal Thomas said he was concerned about keeping tuition rates as low as possible.

“It’s a dire picture,” he said. “I’m living in Springfield, reading Springfield news. I understand how frustrating (funding) is, yet … being a parent myself, and being a citizen of this state, that we have an obligation to those who we are trying to serve the students and the community.”


While trustee Roger Herrin said he could not support the 5 percent increase, he was comfortable with the proposed 3 percent.

“I will say this, and I’m saying this off the cuff without consideration. I do not believe … a tuition increase is the only solution to our problems. Absolutely don’t believe that,” he said. “However, as an effort of compromise, I will personally support a 3 percent increase.”

While the new tuition rate will apply to just the incoming undergraduate freshman class, fees, which were also up for approval, affect greater portions of the campus. Cheng announced $60 of the $78 increase is refundable if students remain on an insurance plan outside of the university. However, she said nearly 80 percent of university students are reliant on the school’s  plan.

Cheng said the university will retain its present insurance plan, as several of the Affordable Care Act-compliant plans administration considered did not offer solid figures on future costs.

We were very concerned with the long term stability of (vendors’) rates, as companies were unwilling to provide rates beyond the first … year,” she said.

Without the added insurance cost, fees will increase an average of 1.8 percent, Cheng said.

Other fees affected include: the facilities maintenance fee, which will increase 2.3 percent, or $5; and the technology maintenance fee, due to increase 8.1 percent, or $6. Both fees will address significant deferred maintenance, Cheng said. The athletic fee, which will increase 1.7 percent, or $5, will support athletic scholarships; the student activity fee, due to increase 21 percent, or $8, will fund more campus activities, she said.

Cheng said the Undergraduate Student Government supports the student activity fee and insurance fee increases, but the Graduate Professional Student Council does not.

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at [email protected] or 563-3311 ext. 255.