March 22, 2010

SIU plans tuition freeze for incoming freshmen

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard today (March 22) announced that he will recommend an undergraduate tuition freeze to the SIU Board of Trustees at its April 8th meeting for incoming freshmen this fall on both SIU campuses.

“We are at a crossroads in public higher education in Illinois. One path leads to the continued privatization of public higher education, the other to a solution to the state’s drastic decline in state revenues that would allow this public university to honor its tradition of offering high-quality degrees at affordable prices,” Poshard said.

According to the October 2009 College Board’s Annual Survey of Tuition and Fee Rates for Public Four Year Institutions, Illinois has the highest tuition and fees of all Midwestern states and the fifth-highest rates among all states. The highly respected National Center for Public Policy for Higher Education gave Illinois an F on the issue of affordability in its 2008 National Report Card on Higher Education. SIU’s tuition rates have risen 135 percent over the last nine years, while state support for public universities next year is expected to drop to 1999 levels without legislative action on Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed 1 percent income tax increase.

“This recommendation reflects my assessment that the constant cycle of state budget cuts to public higher education, followed by double-digit tuition increases, must be broken if a college degree at Southern Illinois University is to remain affordable,” Poshard said. “The decision to freeze tuition is not an easy one, but it is a necessary one which will require additional sacrifices from our dedicated faculty and staff, who to their immense credit, continue to uphold the high quality of our academic programs.”

The tuition freeze, if approved by the Board of Trustees, will be the second year in a row in which SIU has limited its tuition increase request. Last year, the university enacted its lowest tuition increase in seven years.

“Our foremost responsibility during this fiscal crisis is to make the difficult decisions necessary to keep our doors open to the families we have traditionally served,” Poshard said.

(For more information, contact Dave Gross, Office of the President, 217/545/8080)