The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved modest tuition increases for in-state freshmen starting school next fall at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Tuition at University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) will not change.
Tuition will increase 1.9 percent for incoming in-state freshmen in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago. Under the Illinois guaranteed tuition law, currently enrolled in-state undergraduate students will see no tuition increase. The law guarantees in-state undergraduates four years of unchanged tuition.
The tuition increases remain well below the rate of inflation and follow extensive discussions at each University of Illinois System university about balancing affordability and access for students with the commitment to maintain academic excellence. The Consumer Price Index averaged an annual increase of 4.1 percent the past four years, including a 7.1 percent increase in the last year.
“These modest increases will allow our universities to maintain the excellence that students and their families expect and manage inflationary pressures that are driving up our expenses,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “This decision by trustees, alongside our commitment to providing financial aid that makes a real difference in students’ lives, aligns with our promise to maintain access and affordability at our universities.”
The U of I System has made student financial aid a priority for more than a decade, and now provides about $277 million annually, in addition to state and federal aid. Because of this commitment, about 37 percent of in-state undergraduate students at system universities pay no tuition.
Enrollment in the three-university system hit a record high for the 10th consecutive year, reaching 94,861 students in the fall, an increase of 0.1 percent. System leaders planned for the more modest pace after seeing 16 percent enrollment gains over the previous six academic years.
In-state undergraduate enrollment remains strong at 46,815 students – 79 percent of all system undergraduates. In-state recruiting is a priority because of the university system’s mission to serve the people of Illinois. College graduates also tend to stay in the state where they studied, which helps support a strong state economy.
Under the increases approved Thursday, base tuition for in-state undergraduates starting school next fall will increase by $238 to $12,712 a year in Urbana-Champaign and by $208 to $11,178 a year in Chicago. Springfield’s rate will remain $321.50 per credit hour.
For most out-of-state and international freshmen, tuition will increase between 2.2 and 2.5 percent next fall in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, with no increase in Springfield.
Trustees also approved modest fee and housing rate increases for the 2023-24 academic year.
Chairman Edwards re-elected
Donald J. Edwards was unanimously re-elected Thursday by his fellow trustees to a fifth one-year term as chairman of the board.
Edwards lives in Chicago and is an alumnus of UIUC. He has served as a trustee since 2017.
Edwards is CEO of Flexpoint Ford, the Chicago-based private equity investment firm that he founded in 2004. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with University Honors, and also was a four-year letter-winner on the Illini golf team from 1985 to 1988. He later received an MBA from Harvard Business School with Baker Scholar Distinction.
Edwards said he looks forward to working with his fellow trustees and is honored to again be chosen to lead the board, which oversees the U of I System and its universities.
“This is a tremendous honor, and I appreciate the opportunity to continue leading the university system and serving the people of Illinois,” Edwards said. “As I’ve said so often, the U of I has played a pivotal role in my life, and it is so important in the lives of our tens of thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of alumni.
“Public higher education and our universities are more crucial than ever to our state and society,” he added. “I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow trustees, our administration, and the governor and his office to build the alignment necessary to ensure that the world-class education offered at our universities is available at an affordable price for decades to come.”
Jeffrey A. Stein was appointed as secretary of the Board of Trustees. An alumnus with three degrees from UIUC, Stein had been an administrator at the university for nearly two decades. He most recently served as associate director for research at Prairie Research Institute and as an assistant research scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey.
Stein will succeed Gregory Knott, who will retire May 1 after 35 years of service to the University of Illinois System.
At UIS, Linda M. Delene was appointed interim provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. Delene is a seasoned higher education administrator with extensive experience at the provost level. In the past five years, she served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Brockport and Belmont Abbey College.
Also at UIS, Vickie S. Cook was appointed vice chancellor for Enrollment and Retention Management. She has held a number of administrative positions at the university in the last nine years, including in online and professional learning, as well as educational leadership and teacher education.
Additional board action
Trustees extended UIUC football coach Bret Bielema’s contract by two years, through January 2029, and increased his compensation. Bielema’s annual salary increases from $4.2 million to $6 million, with annual $150,000 raises to follow and the opportunity to earn various bonuses.
Trustees also voted to make standardized tests optional for non-resident and international applicants. State law bars public universities from requiring standardized tests for in-state applicants. The vote to extend that provision to students who are not residents of Illinois provides flexibility for students and allows each university to collect multi-year data on the impact of the test-optional approach.