CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn said Friday he will recommend a 6 percent tuition increase at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting in April.
If the board approves the hike, in-state students will pay an extra $504 next year, bringing their total tuition bill to $8,919. For out-of-state students, tuition will jump from $21,037.50 to $22,297.50, an increase of $1,260.
The proposed increase only applies to incoming students’ tuition.
“We were trying to find a balance between not getting a figure so high that it would impact enrollment, and the need to generate some revenue,” Dunn said.
The university will see an additional $811,800 next year as a result of the increase. Dunn said that’s “a drop in the bucket” considering Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to slash 31.5 percent from higher education budgets next year.
The Carbondale campus will face a $32.7 million reduction in funding if Rauner’s budget proposal passes the General Assembly.
Judy Marshall, SIU’s executive director of finance, has said it would take a 4.7 percent tuition hike for tuition revenue to stay flat next year.
That’s thanks to a two-year-old tuition-waiver program created in an effort to increase enrollment.
This year’s sophomores were the first to receive the additional waivers. Once a waiver is awarded to a student, it’s locked in for four years. That means tuition revenue will decrease year-to-year until those sophomores becomes seniors, and as incoming students benefit from the program.
The waivers seem to have worked — albeit not enough to offset the lost revenue. Freshmen enrollment jumped by 2.4 percent in 2014, to a record-setting 2,126.
Adrian Miller, the Carbondale campus’ student trustee, said a tuition increase is not ideal, but he thinks Dunn’s recommendation is “modest.”
“While I’m a student, and I want to maintain an affordability aspect to the university, I also understand that there are rising costs,” he said. “We have to react to that and do what’s best for the university.”
The Board of Trustees will vote on Dunn’s recommendation at its upcoming meeting April 16 in Edwardsville. Trustees also will vote on a proposal to switch to an Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance policy for students.