By: Anna Junko, Senior Editor for Student Literature & Art (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beware, incoming freshmen: your budgets are going to be a little tighter this fall.
The University of Illinois announced on January 13th that tuition for fall 2014 freshman is increasing 1.7 percent—or $178—bumping tuition to $10,584 at UIC. The University states that this year’s hike is the lowest in nearly 20 years—tuition hikes peaked at 9.5 percent in 2010-2011—and assures students that the raise simply covers the cost of inflation.
But according to the Chicago Tribune, the most shocking aspect of the tuition jump isn’t the tuition at all; it’s the climb in fees and housing costs.
Jodi S. Cohen writes, “The total cost [of attendance] more than doubles…after adding mandatory student fees and housing.” She asserts that over four years, total increases will amount to $25,000 at UIC, a disconcerting fact for incoming students already strapped for cash.
Luckily, the Guaranteed Tuition Plan protects current students from a new financial burden. This law, launched by the state in 2004, asserts that all new students admitted to a baccalaureate program will receive a four-year guaranteed tuition schedule. Many students and families have struggled in the past to cover unexpected year-to-year tuition hikes.
The University’s board of trustees has recently cited both cost-containment initiatives and increased fundraising efforts as successful, and the board insists that this year’s levy merely covers necessary operating costs. During the 2013 fiscal year, the University of Illinois nabbed $435 million in gifts, grants, pledges and deferred commitments—up 40 percent from 2012.
Many students, however, are still struggling.
UIC still faces tough financial times ahead, partly due to the startling fact that the state of Illinois owes the University of Illinois system $500 million. Without this sum, the University relies on fundraising and tuition hikes to keep the University operating smoothly. This frustrates many administrators in charge of the University of Illinois budget.
So what could we buy with $500 million? To put it in perspective, talk to Chris Kennedy, the president of the board.
The money owed by the state could give 4,000 students free tuition.