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UI trustees OK tuition, fee increases, $50M budget for Undergraduate Library project | University-illinois

URBANA — University of Illinois trustees voted to increase tuition and housing costs for incoming freshmen during Thursday’s meeting.

It’s the second increase in tuition for in-state students in the last eight years; the amount went unchanged between 2015 and 2019.

On the Urbana-Champaign campus, base tuition will increase by 1.8 percent (about $220), up to $12,474 a year. Incoming freshmen will also pay about 1.8 percent more in room and board costs, while all students will pay $52 more in miscellaneous fees.

International and out-of-state students will see their tuition rise by about 2.5 percent on average, with some higher rates for engineering and information-sciences majors.

About three-quarters of the undergraduate population on the Urbana campus are in-state students. State law locks in the rates set for incoming in-state freshman for four years.

Administrators justified the increase in tuition by pointing out rising inflation over the past decade, especially in the last year, and emphasizing the near-$260 million the UI system has given in student aid each year.

Through that financial aid, about 30 percent of in-state undergraduates in the system pay no tuition or fees.

Several trustees commented on the measure after it passed.

Trustee Stuart King said he doesn’t like a tuition increase “while we have so many expenses,” but that he’d “vote for it because we need it.”

Student trustees Mariama Mwilambwe of the Urbana campus and Austin Verthein of the Springfield campus both abstained from the measures to raise tuition and the housing fee.

President Tim Killeen expressed his gratitude to the board after the tuition increase was approved.

“This increase is only our second in the last eight years and is well below, again, the rate of inflation,” he said. “And it’s needed as the system balances our strong and the board’s commitment to affordability and access to students with the need to maintain and preserve academic excellence.”

“Any tuition raise is always difficult,” added Board Chairman Donald Edwards, who was re-elected for his fourth, one-year term. But he said Executive Vice President Avijit Ghosh’s presentation and Killeen’s comments were “extremely persuasive.”

Library plans

Another big item passed Thursday: the $50 million budget and plan to transform the Undergraduate Library into a special-collections facility.

All of the funds have been secured for the construction, set to be finished in 2024.

The underground library will be converted to hold the University Archives, the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections and The Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The Undergraduate Library will remain open for student use through the spring 2022 semester. By the fall, the library’s services for undergraduate students will be spread among the Main Library, Grainger Engineering Library Information Center, Funk ACES Library and other units around campus.

“This is an important and exciting step in our university’s ability to support scholars and students,” Chancellor Robert Jones said. “Moving forward with this facility really allows us to do what is necessary to ensure irreplaceable rare and archival materials will be available and accessible for scholarship and research for generations to come.”

“We’re excited about our ability to better meet the needs of the University by the creation of this beautiful facility supporting the use and care of our rare and archival materials,” said John Wilkin, dean of libraries and head university librarian. “I appreciate all of the campus feedback we’ve received through town halls and public forums, which have helped us shape this strategy.”

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