April 16, 2015

SIU Board of Trustees approves tuition rates, fees

by Tom Woolf

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees today (April 16) approved tuition rates and fees for the 2015-16 academic year.

Meeting on the SIU Edwardsville campus, the trustees approved a 5 percent increase in tuition at both Edwardsville and Carbondale for new, first-time freshmen and transfer students. For full-time students taking 15 credit hours, that represents an increase of $210 per semester at SIU Carbondale; at SIU Edwardsville, the increase is $183 per semester. Under Illinois law, the tuition rate first charged to an undergraduate student remains constant for four continuous academic years.

Although other Illinois universities have yet to set their tuition rates for next academic year, SIU officials anticipate that tuition at SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville will be the least expensive among the public research and comprehensive universities.

Trustees also approved a policy change that extends SIU Carbondale’s high-achieving, non-resident alternate tuition program for new undergraduates to new and first-time transfer graduate students, excluding the professional schools and the physician assistant program. Beginning with the fall 2015 semester, eligible graduate students will pay the in-state tuition rate.

The non-resident tuition rate for the School of Dental Medicine in Alton was revised from 3 times the in-state rate to 2.3 times the in-state rate beginning next school year.

Housing and meal plan rates on both campuses also were approved. At SIU Carbondale, the rate for students new to residence halls will increase by 4 percent, and apartment rates will increase 1.9 percent. University Housing offers an option that allows students to lock in the current rate for two years; for the 2015-16 academic year, more than 500 students will see no rate increase.

The new rates will allow for continued investment in housing facilities. Planned capital and building projects include renovation and upgrades to Lentz Dining Hall, plumbing and window replacements for parts of the West Campus residence halls, and additional upgrades that will create more fully accessible apartments at Evergreen Terrace.

At SIU Edwardsville, housing rates will increase 3 percent for Cougar Village Apartments, Woodland, Prairie, Bluff and Evergreen halls. The new rates are designed to offset inflationary cost increases projected at between 2 and 3 percent and higher debt service costs, as well as to maintain adequate fund balances in the housing operation, and provide for administrative costs assessed to auxiliaries. The cost of the meal plan will increase 3.1 percent.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the board approved a 34 percent increase in SIU Carbondale’s student health insurance fee that was endorsed by the Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Council. Students will pay $585 per semester compared with the current rate of $437.

The new fee allows for the transition from the university’s current self-insured program to commercial medical and hospitalization coverage that will be in full compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act.  If the university revised its current program to meet that requirement, there would be a significant increase in the financial risk to the university because pre-existing conditions would be covered and medical benefits would be unlimited. A self-insured plan that meets the federal requirements would lead to a fee increase much higher than the one approved by the board.

Of the approximately 10,000 students covered by the university’s plan, more than 80 percent have no other medical insurance. The average cost for year-round health insurance benefits will be $97.50 per month during the next fiscal year.

Also Thursday, trustees:

  • Approved the City of Edwardsville’s plans to build an 8,300-square-foot fire station on the Edwardsville campus. It will be built on the north end of campus near the water tower, and all construction and site improvements will be the city’s responsibility.
  • Awarded a $773,200 contract to Christ Brothers Asphalt Inc. of Lebanon to resurface Circle Drive on the Edwardsville campus. Construction, planned for this summer, will lead to temporary lane closures.
  • Awarded two contracts totaling $641,729 for renovations to parking lots 11 and 13, located east of the SIU Carbondale Student Center. The project will add 154 spaces to Lot 11, and Lot 13 will be redesigned for safer pedestrian travel and traffic flow, and will be resurfaced. The $580,229 contract for general construction work was awarded to Samron Midwest Contracting Inc., Murphysboro, while the $61,500 contract for electrical construction work was awarded to W.J. Burke Electric Inc., also of Murphysboro.
  • Re-established the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at SIU Carbondale, effective July 1. Since this involves primarily the realignment and reorganization of existing units, no new budget lines or additional costs are anticipated.