The Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees approved tuition increases for the 2008-09 academic year at its meeting on Monday.
In presenting the proposed increases, EIU President Bill Perry assured trustees that the issue of affordability was important. "Eastern has always been a university of opportunity," he said, "and it is our mission to remain so."
The process of determining any tuition increase is a complicated one, he added, which begins by determining cost savings, cost avoidance and more efficient operations,all of which play a critical part in determining tuition levels. "Every dollar we save or avoid spending on operationsis a dollar we don't chargein tuition," Perry said.
The university must project cost increases associated with maintaining or enhancing the quality of education for its students;calculate employment contract obligations;estimate utilities, fuel and other such costs; predict student enrollment; and factor in appropriations available from the state of Illinois. For the 2009 fiscal year, the governor's budget proposes no increase in general revenue appropriations. After taking all theseelements into account, a tuition rate is set.
"For the past several years, EIU has been ranked in the top three public universities in Illinois in retention and graduation rates, while its tuition rateshave beenamong the three lowest. EIU is a great value for the citizens of Illinois," Perry noted.
New in-state undergraduate students entering EIU in 2008-09 will pay $218 per semester hour, and that rate will be locked in for four continuous academic years, as provided in the state "Truth in Tuition Law." Students with an average 15-hour course load will pay $3,270 per semester.
The locked-in per-semester-hour tuition rates for returning in-state undergraduate students is as follows, according to the year students entered EIU: 2004-05, $137.75; 2005-06, $154.30; 2006-07, $173.55; and 2007-08, 194.40. Continuing students who entered prior to the 2004-2005 school year will pay $170.55 per semester hour, an increase of $11.90.
New out-of-state undergraduates will pay $654 in tuition per semester hour, or $9,810 for an average 15-hour course load. Locked-in per-semester-hour rates for out-of-state undergraduate students will remain unchanged for those who entered in the following years: 2004-05, $413.25; 2005-06, $462.90; 2006-07, $520.65; and 2007-08, $583.20. Continuing out-of-state undergraduate students will pay $511.65 per semester hour, an increase of $35.70.
Illinois graduate students will also pay $218 per semester hour, an increase of $28.25 per semester hour. Out-of-state graduate students' per-semester-hour rate will be $654.
Trustees also approved a $1 per-semester-hour increase in the Textbook Rental Service Fee, raising the cost from $8.95 to $9.95. The additional funding will be used exclusively for the construction of a new student facility for Textbook Rental Service.
Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said the proposed $4.2 million building will be long-lasting and durable, and more suitable for textbook rental services than the current location, which is a renovated gymnasium.
According to Nadler, Eastern's students save approximately $700 annually by renting their textbooks, rather than having to purchase them.
A $2.33 increase in the University Union Operating Fee (from $77.70 to $80.03) was also approved, with the additional funding targeted toward increases in the cost of student wages, utilities, building enhancements and deferred maintenance.