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U Of I Expands Free Tuition Program, At Governor’s Request

Foellinger Auditorium
Foellinger Auditorium and the Main Quad, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

CHICAGO – On the heels of a tuition hike, the University of Illinois is expanding Illinois Commitment, its free tuition program meant to attract students who might otherwise attend out-of-state schools.

Speaking Friday morning in Chicago, Governor JB Pritzker says he made that request of the U of I Board of Trustees.

“I asked them to lift the income threshold for the Illinois Commitment program by an additional ten percent, and they will institute this for the coming school year,” said Pritzker. “That means now more than half of the households in the state will qualify for free tuition.”

Pritzker’s announcement means that the annual household income threshold for the Illinois Commitment program will rise from $61 thousand to about $67 thousand per year, beginning next fall.

The program guarantees free tuition and fees for any in-state freshman or transfer student, from households with incomes at or below that threshold.

In confirming the news, U of I Urbana campus spokesperson Robin Kaler said in a news release that the university is grateful for the state support that allows them to increase the income threshold.

Kaler said the additional support would “ensure that modest and middle-income families in Illinois has access to an affordable Illinois education”.

The Illinois Commitment announcement comes a day after the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved its first tuition increase in six years. The increase of 1.8% for Urbana and Chicago campus students and 1% for the Springfield campus, will help pay for faculty recruitment. It affects incoming in-state freshmen who enroll for the fall 2020 semester.


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Brian Moline

Brian Moline

Brian Moline is the Managing Editor of Illinois Newsroom and host of Morning Edition for Illinois Public Media/WILL. He's been with WILL since 2015, after a long stint at WDWS-AM in Champaign where he covered both news and sports for more than a decade. If you have story or interview ideas, you can reach Brian at bmoline@illinois.edu.

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