Incoming freshmen and transfer students will hand over more money to attend the university next semester.
The SIU Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent tuition increase Thursday at its meeting at the Edwardsville campus.
Tuition will go from $3,267.60 a semester in 2014-15, to $3,430.98 in 2015-16, an increase of $163.38.
Chairman Randal Thomas said the trustees mulled over a 10 percent increase, the 6 percent increase proposed by President Randy Dunn, and not raising tuition at all.
He said the board could not agree on 6 percent, but found 4.7 percent would be just enough to break even and cover previously granted scholarship costs.
“We have the desire to continue to attract quality students and the quantity that we need, and not drive anyone away,” Thomas said.
“If we push pricing too hard, it’s going to be an access issue for many of the students we serve,” Dunn said. “[We] tried to figure out what that sweet point was in the middle to bring some revenue in and cover fixed costs and understand that we may lose significantly on the state side, but not getting so far out there that it becomes an access issue.”
Dunn said even with the tuition raise, the SIU system will still be the cheapest with the best value in the state. A semester at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign cost $7,006 this year, and more than $4,316 at Western Illinois University and more than $4,626 at Northern Illinois University.
“We are willing to stand our pricing sheet against any other school in the state and say that we are a great value for what we provide,” he said.
In what may be seen as a more positive fee increase, the board approved a new student health insurance policy compliant with the Affordable Care Act. The plan, endorsed by the Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Council, is a 34 percent increase to $585 per semester for a student, up from $437 per semester for the 2014-15 school year.
The board also approved the re-creation of a vice chancellor of student affairs. Dunn said the position will be filled in-house, starting with an interim selection to cover that area with his or her own existing duties.
“It’s important to have, on a campus the size and scope of Carbondale’s, a [vice chancellor] area that is charged with championing student welfare and student issues,” he said.
Any increase in compensation would come from money not appropriated by the state, Dunn said.
Aside from an increase in tuition, housing plans will also go up for new students.
Residence hall costs will increase 4 percent and apartment rates by 1.9 percent.
Those increases will go toward renovations and upgrades to Lentz Dining Hall, West Campus residence halls and Evergreen Terrace.
Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected]