Regents OK $125 charge

By Claudia Curry and Dina Paluzzi

A $125 tuition surcharge will be imposed on students of all Regency universities, including NIU, for the spring 1989 semester and every semester thereafter until it is removed by the Board of Regents, the Regents decided Thursday.

Through a compromise between students and the Regents, the surcharge replaced a proposed tuition increase.

NIU Student Regent Nick Valadez said, “I’m not happy with any additional cost to students, but given the options, the surcharge is a compromise.”

The surcharge also will affect Illinois State University and Sangamon State University, which also are part of the Regency system. Regents Chairman Carol Burns said NIU tuition has increased $445 in the last 12 months. The $125 surcharge will increase NIU tuition to $2,114 for 1988-89.

Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves said the board needed to make clear the surcharge would continue unless removed by the Regents. He said all other Illinois institutions are passing tuition increases, whereas the Regents stand alone with a surcharge.

Student Regents and several other Regents said they felt imposing a surcharge would send a message to state legislators that the General Assembly needs to increase funding for higher education.

ISU Student Regent Dan Wagner said, “Instead of assuming what legislators will do, why don’t we just try something different. At least there’s a chance (for no tuition increase).” He said students are paying more than 40 percent of their education costs.

Valadez said, “Before, you could see that tuition was an admissions cost. Now, it is a shield for an incompetent legislature.”

NIU President John LaTourette said NIU offers undergraduate instruction at the lowest cost to the state. He said the NIU cost is $400 less than average. “We’re the most efficient and we’re penalized for that efficiency.”

Valadez said, “In the last 10 years NIU and SIU have experienced their greatest achievements while the cost for education has increased. Every time we raise tuition we make NIU less accessible to Illinois students.”

Regent Milton McClure said, “We differ with thoughts that this will send a signal to legislatures.

“This is a compromise between two extremes. It is not one any of us are comfortable with.” However, he said he could not support a surcharge.

Student Association President Paula Radtke said when students see a surcharge has been imposed, it might make a lot of people question what happened. She said she hopes the surcharge motivates students to fight for increased funding to higher education.

Regents waived a policy of five-day prior notification of guest speakers at open board meetings and allowed SA members Diana Turowski and Darnell Williams to speak for five minutes each.

Turowski presented an SA petition against the Regent’s offer of an $85,000 salary to Clyde Wingfield while he is on an administrative assignment in Washington D.C. She said tuition has increased dramatically in the past 12 months while the quality of education has been slipping.

Turowski said, “While we lobby for higher education funding, Clyde Wingfield receives $85,000 for not teaching classes.” She said 90 faculty members left NIU since March and none have been replaced.

LaTourette said, however, several teachers had been replaced.