U of I increases tuition for new students

May 21, 2010 9:52:34 AM PDT
A tuition increase of almost 10 percent was approved Thursday for incoming University of Illinois students.

The increase comes on the same day that trustees approved a more than $600,000-a-year salary for the school's new president.

Some protested the vote, calling the president's salary inappropriate given the needed tuition increase.

The school says the tuition hike is a cost-of-living increase that it is in line with inflation, and that the new president is a bargain at $620,000.

The school claims that the new president is actually doing the university a favor by taking the job because it's a reduction from what he was making.

Tell that to the union members and students protesting outside today's University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting to approve the measures.

Many university workers were forced to take at least 11 furlough days in the past year, and student leaders say that from 2002 through 2007, tuition increased 50 percent over inflation. The new president, Michael Hogan, is making $170,000 more than his predecessor.

"I am asking him to forego that increase and take the same salary that the past president took while he was here," said State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago).

A student senator says the tuition increases are making it tougher for students across demographics to attend college.

"They are sucking money from students, and they are making it increasingly difficult for not only the poor to go to school, but in fact, also the middle class," said Rich potter, a graduate student senator at the university and a Ph.d candidate in the school's Institute for Communications Research.

Acting University of Illinois President Stanley Ikenberry told the trustees Thursday morning that the tuition and salary decisions are part of a series of actions to reduce spending at the university, which is currently owed $375 million by the state.

"The bottom line is in order to run the university and pay our bills and to maintain the quality of faculty and staff that we have, that is an essential given the state's failure to meet their obligations," said university Trustee James Montgomery.

New Board of Trustees Chairman Chris Kennedy said the problem with Michael Hogan's salary is simply that people don't accept others making such sums.

"We have got a guy who is going to be paid in the middle of the pack of the Big Ten - that means he is not at the high end of the range, he's right in the middle, and to tell you the truth, he was great to come and take this job for a middling salary within his peer group," said Kennedy.

So for incoming freshmen, a year at Urbana-Champaign will cost $22,726 for tuition, fees and room and board.

In Chicago at UIC, that package will cost $22,532, and $19,748 at the Springfield campus.

The university is promising increased needs-based financial aid with this increase, and the hike does not affect current students.


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