Tuition increase possible for third year

By Pete Schuh

Students might see a tuition increase for the third consecutive year.

During the Board of Regents meeting Thursday at Sangamon State University in Springfield, the Regents discussed the likelihood of a tuition hike.

Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves said it was too early to tell whether there will be a tuition increase for NIU and the Regency universities SSU and Illinois State University in Normal.

Groves said the possibility of a tuition increase depends on the fate of the University of Illinois’ tuition increase proposal on the campus level as well as at the hands of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

“At this point we’re not recommending a tuition increase,” he said.

U of I administration has proposed a tuition increase of 5.5 to 11 percent, which would be distributed by class status, to be implemented next academic year. In general, universities do not propose tuition hikes in the fall semester, but U of I officials have said they have announced the proposal now so students and their parents will have time to prepare for the increase.

Groves said the Regency System as well as other universities in the state might have to raise tuition in order to stay competitive with U of I.

“I don’t know what the other systems are doing at the time,” he added. “Obviously, I don’t sense enthusiasm on anybody’s part to move ahead with an increase in tuition.”

In the spring semester it will be the IBHE’s responsibility to approve any tuition proposals the universities make.

The IBHE might be against U of I’s tuition plan as well as that of any other university for two reasons.

First, as Groves himself said, “The policy of the IBHE has been that an increase in tuition should meet inflation on a year to year basis.”

Second, the principle of the IBHE’s Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative is not to increase the cost of education to students. The PQP initiative favors the reallocation of university resources from lower to higher priorities in an effort to better focus higher education resources.

The Regents also reviewed the universities’ 1993 productivity reports during the meeting. The reports detail programmatic actions and reallocation efforts the universities have made in response to PQP.

Regent Chair David Murphy noted of the process, “Chairman Quern (IBHE chairman Arthur Quern) made it very clear that the heart of PQP is productivity.”

However, its uncertain whether NIU’s reports meet Quern’s definition of “comparable scope” in regard to programmatic action. The report does meet the IBHE’s target amount of resource reallocation.

Groves said, “We have done quite a great deal in these reports. The campuses have worked very hard in this process and significant progress has been made through their efforts.”

In addition to putting an informal stamp of approval on the universities’ productivity reports the Regents also approved the universities fiscal year 1994 operating budget request for appropriated funds and their FY 1995 Capital Appropriation Requests.