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WIU Board Approves Tuition Hike

Rich Egger

Tuition will rise by 4% next school year at Western Illinois University. The increase applies only to new underclassmen and new graduate students.

“Our office did a study of all tuitions within our contiguous areas, contiguous states, and quite frankly we have been the lowest in tuition for quite some time,” Dr. Teresa Smith, Interim Associate Vice President for Budget and Finance, told the Board of Trustees.

Smith said tuition and state appropriations are the university’s major sources of revenue. WIU’s tuition has not increased the past two years and the state isn’t expected to increase its funding for higher education in the year ahead.

“We are simply not keeping up with the price index. We’re not keeping up with costs. And because of that, we’re very limited as to what we can do for our employees, our students, our facilities – anything,” she said.

Smith said Western will still have one of the lowest tuition rates – if not the lowest – in Illinois, even if the other public universities keep their tuition rates level for next school year.

Trustee Erik Dolieslager concurred.

“That 4% still puts us, in my judgment, in a very competitive spot,” Dolieslager said. “We’ve got to get revenue coming in. I think this is a modest percentage.”

Trustee Kisha Lang called it a tough time for many universities across the country. She said it’s also a difficult time for those trying to pay for the cost of a higher education.

“It is a tough time for families to have to come up with additional funding for tuition. I know it’s something we need to do. The timing just seems off for any campus to go up on tuition,” Lang said.

The board approved the increase unanimously.

Trustees also approved a 4% increase in room and board rates for new incoming students.

Student fees will remain steady for next school year for the Macomb campus. Fees will rise incrementally over the next four years for students on the Quad campus. The university said that will allow it to “enhance campus activities, resources, and programs” in the Quad Cities.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.