University Of Illinois Administrators Raise Tuition

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Base Tuition For In-State Undergrads: $12,254 at U-I Urbana-Champaign; $10,776 at U-I Chicago; $9,503 at U-I Springfield

CHICAGO – University of Illinois trustees voted in Chicago Thursday to raise tuition for the first time in six years, and extend the contract of their president, Tim Killeen.

The university had kept its tuition rates steady for incoming, in-state freshmen for the past five years. For those students who are still attending classes, tuition levels will remain the same. But in the fall of 2020, tuition will rise by 1.8% for incoming in-state freshmen at the Urbana and Chicago campuses, and by 1% at the Springfield campus. The trustees also approved increases in student fees and housing rates for the coming academic year.

The U of I administration says the increases are needed to pay for a faculty hiring initiative, meant to ensure that university academics keep up with rising enrollment.

Trustees approved the regular agenda including the tuition increases on a voice vote, with no “nays” heard. But several trustees made statements explaining their reasons for supporting the increase, or voicing their misgivings.

Trustee Ed McMillan said if the University of Illinois needs to raise tuition to support faculty hiring, then the administration needs to keep non-academic spending as low as possible, when they work on the 2021 budget during the year ahead.

“Perhaps with a more critical review of our non-academic costs, we can find additional dollars to augment the recommended increase in tuition dollars, to be able to hire more faculty and to better compensate the high performing faculty that we already have,” said McMillan.

In approving the tuition hike, University of Illinois trustees voted to end a tuition freeze that had marked the beginning of Tim Killeen’s tenure as president. That tenure will continue, as trustees approved an agreement to extend Killeen’s contract by four years, through June 30, 2024.

U of I Board Chairman Donald Edwards says Killeen’s hiring ended a period when “excessive” leadership turnover (affecting both the administration and board of trustees) caused the goals of the administration and board to be out of alignment.  But Edwards said that changed under Killeen’s “consistent leadership”.

“With President Killeen continuing to lead this university system with this level of alignment, the U of I will be nothing less than a beacon in education of excellence and economic development for the benefit of the people of Illinois,” said Edwards.

The extended contract raises Killeen’s compensation by 19%, to a total of $835 thousand a year. Killeen will be eligible for annual increases when such increases are authorized for U of I System employees.

A university news release praises Killeen for overseeing a surge in enrollment, record highs in fundraising, and new research initiatives such as the Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Innovation Network.

In other business, University of Illinois trustees held their annual meeting, re-electing Donald Edwards as their chairman for a second one-year term. Trustees also re-elected trustees Ramon Cepeda and Patricia Brown Holmes to the Executive Committee. They re-elected three non-trustee officers: Avijit Ghosh as comptroller, Thomas Bearrows as university counsel and Dedra Williams as Secretary. However, Williams is retiring, and trustees ratified the appointment of Gregory Knott to succeed her, beginning June 1.

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Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focustalk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.