Board approves fee reductions, freezes tuition


NIU President Lisa Freeman speaks during a Board of Trustee meeting Dec. 11, 2017.

By Batul Cutlerywala

DeKALB — The Board of Trustees voted to lower fees and not increase tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Board decided to once again lock in tuition at the same rate the university has charged since the 2015-2016 academic year during a Thursday meeting in Altgeld Hall, room 315.

“We realize that earning a degree from an institution like NIU can be life-changing for a student, and we are committed to keeping NIU affordable,” said Wheeler Coleman, Board of Trustees chairperson, during the meeting.

Students will pay $348.84 per credit hour for the first 11 hours of courses. Students who take 12 or more hours will have their tuition capped at $5,332.80 per semester. This creates the incentive for students to take heavier course loads and graduate quickly, according to a Dec. 8 press release.

Students majoring in engineering and computer science will pay a differential rate that is $40 per credit hour higher, according to the press release. The higher rate offsets the costs of ensuring that labs and other resources are up to current industry standards.

The Board also approved a decrease in undergraduate student fees of 0.5 percent, which excludes health insurance fee.

Room and board rates for double occupancy room will also remain unchanged. Single room rates will increase 4.5 percent because of the higher demand for those rooms.

The 4.5 percent housing rate change will not apply to New Residence Hall and Northern View Apartment complexes.

For a new student living in a double-occupancy room and taking 12 or more hours of class, the cost of attending and living at NIU will drop by 0.1 percent.

“These actions dramatically demonstrate NIU’s commitment to keeping higher education accessible and affordable,” said Sol Jensen, Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication vice president, during the meeting. “That affordability, combined with our excellent programs, should make NIU an even more attractive choice for students looking for a degree that will help them succeed in life.”

The Northern Star

The Northern Star was approved to receive student fees to support its operations during the Thursday meeting.

The Star is set to receive 29 cents per credit hour, which works out to about $3.50 per 12 credit-hour semester. Based on the fall enrollment of about 17,000 students, the amount the Star could receive is about $85,000 per year.

The Star requested the Board approve the fee but offer students the option to have the money refunded upon request. However, the Board approved the fee without a refund option.

The Northern Star’s expenses consist of costs such as payroll, printing and the purchase of new equipment. However, half of the news adviser’s salary and most benefits are funded by the university.

The Star’s fees are in comparison to most universities that receive funding through students fees, such as Southern Illinois University, which charges students 75 cents per credit hour up to 12 credit hours which totals $9 per  student for the publication. This is not the first time the Star has received student fees to support its operations. Up until 1996, the Star regularly received funding through student fees.

Clarification: The Northern Star originally reported Southern Illinois University’s student newspaper, the Daily Egyptian, receives $9 per student in student fees. The Daily Egyptian receives 75 cents per credit hour up to 12 hours. The story has been edited to reflect the accurate totals.