New health sciences degree program also added to Eastern’s growing offerings
(Charleston, IL) – At its regular April meeting, Eastern Illinois University’s board of trustees meeting approved tuition and housing increases and also moved to rename one of its residence halls.
The board voted to set tuition at $323.63 per credit hour for new undergraduate students beginning in fall 2022. The newly adopted rate represents a 2.4 percent increase and will assist EIU in maintaining its quality reputation and status as the lowest cost-of-attendance public university in Illinois.
New out-of-state undergraduate students will see an increase of $9.86 per credit hour to $404.54. However, EIU’s in-state tuition rate is available for students residing in Illinois border states (Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin), meaning that only out-of-state students who reside in non-bordering states will be impacted by the updated out-of-state rates.
“Students not residing in Illinois border states have onramps to qualify for EIU’s in-state rates,” assured Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management at EIU.
Norman said this is possible through EIU’s ‘Distinguished Out-of-State Undergraduate Student Rate’ policy, which outlines that any undergraduate student—regardless of residency—can qualify for in-state rates by meeting certain GPA criteria.
“Beyond that, EIU has a special ‘Request for Consideration’ form that lets EIU consider any and all prospective undergraduate students for in-state rates,” Norman said. “This allows us to provide the benefit to qualified and ambitious students who would be exceptional contributors to our campus community, no matter what U.S. state they are from.”
As part of the updated tuition rate package, graduate student rates will increase $8.81 per credit hour and $21.15 per credit hour for non-Illinois residents.
Since 2005, tuition for new Illinois resident undergraduate students is required to remain the same for four continuous academic years—meaning new undergraduate students who begin at EIU in fall 2022 will be guaranteed the same tuition rate throughout the course of their academic programs.
EIU’s board also unanimously approved slight increases to residence hall and Greek Court housing and dining rates. In the aggregate across all plan options, the approved amounts represent approximately a 3 percent increase in housing rates, and approximately a 2.5 percent increase in dining rates.
With prior approval from Student Senate, updates to student fees also were unanimously approved. In total, student fees will increase $12.57 per credit hour to offset increased operational costs throughout the University.
During public discussion, EIU board members noted the increases were primarily market driven, meant to offset inflation and rising costs of operation while maintaining EIU’s reputation as a high-quality, affordable, first-choice option in Illinois higher education.
Additionally, EIU’s board also voted unanimously to change the name of one of its residence halls—from Douglas Hall to “Powell-Norton Hall” in honor of Zella Powell and Ona Norton.
Zella Powell is believed to be EIU’s first Black graduate, earning a degree from Eastern State Normal School in 1910. Powell’s family migrated from the south in the mid-1800s and became one of the founding families of Mattoon, Illinois, with her family owning a number of small businesses, persevering through historic discrimination. Zella had a long career as an educator, first in Mattoon and then in Chicago. Her professional achievements inspired her own daughter to earn a master’s degree in Library of Science degree in Michigan before establishing the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit with her husband.
Ona Norton was the matriarch of a Black family in Charleston, Illinois during the 1950s, when it was difficult for students of color to find off-campus housing in Charleston. Ona and her husband were approached by EIU’s football coach about providing housing for some of the team’s Black student-athletes. The Nortons agreed and took on seven students that year. Over time, the Nortons expanded the number of students they helped to house, eventually acquiring additional residences near campus in which to house students. Ona was a respected member of the Charleston community, earning the Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of the Year recognition in 1967. During her life in Charleston, Ona was very active with the Charleston Senior Center, Wesley United Methodist Church, and the Charleston Civic Association.
According to EIU’s April 2022 Board Report, “Including Zella Powell’s last name as part of this residence hall enables EIU to honor a pioneering family in Coles County while also honoring EIU’s first Black graduate.” The report also adds that Norton’s name on the building “enables EIU to honor a pillar of the Charleston community who was instrumental in providing for the housing needs of Black students, including student-athletes.”
Following two previous attempts to consider renaming Douglas Hall, renewed efforts emerged in 2020, and gained traction following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. EIU’s Lincoln and Douglas Halls were originally named in 1951 to commemorate the significance of a series of seven debates—one of which was held in Charleston, Illinois—between incumbent U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas and Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln in 1858 about the expansion of slavery into new American territories. Over time, Stephen Douglas became an increasingly controversial figure for deploying inflammatory and racist rhetoric as a means to realizing his political aspirations. These circumstances compelled EIU to once again reinstate the University Naming Committee to reconsider the Douglas Hall name as a reflection of EIU’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment. Today’s board action was the culmination of those efforts, and undertaken after months of work to solicit, review, and reflect a variety of campus, community, and stakeholder feedback. While the Stephen Douglas name will be removed and dissociated from EIU’s longstanding residence hall, other efforts to acknowledge the importance of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate in Charleston remain in place at the University and in the Charleston community.
In other action, EIU’s board voted to approve a new bachelor of science degree in Health Sciences. The program will complement EIU’s Gail and Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing to provide students multiple, dedicated pathways to a variety of health-related disciplines in health and human services.
For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.