SIU Board of Trustees approves tuition waivers for low-income students

By Danny Connolly, Staff Reporter

The SIU Board of Trustees met Thursday via Zoom and approved the SIU System Commitment plan to attract low-income students by fully covering their tuition. 

In order to be eligible for the waiver, students need to come from a family with an annual income of $63,575 and have less than $50,000 in assets determined by FAFSA.    

“A high priority of this board has been to provide higher education access to all, without regard to age, race, gender or economic status,” J. Phil Gilbert, chair of the SIU board of Trustees, said. “I think what we’re doing here as a system is going a long way in providing that access to everyone who wants a college education.”

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These tuition waivers are designed to cover everything left after financial aid such as Pell grants and state grants, for all 4 years. 

The grants cover mandatory fees and tuition, they do not cover other costs including housing, course costs, and textbooks.   

“Once they get need from all those other places, the institution will cover whatever’s remaining on their tuition and mandatory fees,” President of the SIU system, Dan Mahony said.

In order to be eligible for the tuition waivers, students must also be from Illinois, attend a high school in Illinois and apply before the priority deadline of March 1. 

The SIU System Commitment will be offered to freshmen in fall 2021 at both the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses. 

SIUE will also be test-optional starting in Fall 2021 for both admission and scholarship. SIUC went test-optional last year for admission and will not require a standardized tests for scholarship placement.

 At the meeting, SIU approved its budget for the year, including a 6% budget cut.  

“It is our intention to balance our budget again this year. In order to do that, we will implement a budget cut of six percent of general operating cuts,”  Vice Chancellor for Finance and SIUC Budget Director, Judy Marshall said.

Chancellor Austin Lane said that the cuts will be made through lapped salaries and reallocation of departments in the reserve.

“The governor has asked state agencies to prepare for an additional 5% cut,”  Gilbert said. “We’re doing the best that we can with what we have.”

Marshall said SIU housing is losing $1.2 million in revenue by not allowing students to return for the two weeks after finals.  

Marshall said Saluki Athletics is working to cut $3 million in FY 2021. 

“We are aware of the challenges associated with the athletic program and will work towards a current solution,” Marshall said.   

The full board meeting can be found here.

Staff reporter Danny Connolly can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DConnollyTV

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