Tuition rates to skyrocket

By Jerry Lawrence

A whopping 47 percent tuition increase will hit NIU students taking 16 credit hours or more over a three-year period, increasing their tuition from last year’s $1,800 to $2,508 next year and $2,640 the next.

The increase comes despite a headline-making tuition freeze proposed in next year’s Illinois Board of Higher Education’s budget recommendations.

Next year’s tuition for students taking 16 credit hours or more will rise 12 percent from $2,244 this year to $2,508.

NIU President John La Tourette said the tuition increase will have to be approved by the state legislature because of the IBHE budget recommendation.

Last week, La Tourette said the IBHE might have proposed the tuition freeze for next year in order to make NIU and its governing body, the Board of Regents, look bad, knowing that the three-year plan had been approved last May.

In addition to the three-year plan, an across-the-board 10 percent increase this year in base tuition raised the per credit hour cost to $82.50, increasing total tuition to $1,980.

La Tourette said an additional increase of $82.50 for every credit hour over 12 and up to 16 hours is being added as part of the three-year plan that started this year.

He said there will be no additional charge per credit hour for every credit hour over 16 hours.

La Tourette said 40 percent of that $82.50 amount was added this year, with an additional 40 percent planned next year and 20 percent the following year.

According to the schedule given by La Tourette, $33 was added to the cost for the 13th through 16th credit hour this year with an additional $33 being added next year. The final $16.50 will be added the year after.

La Tourette said the three-year plan was approved at a May 1992 Board of Regents meeting. He said concern had been raised about the impact of implementing the increase in one year as done by Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

According to IBHE records, SIU raised its tuition 37.4 percent this year. La Tourette said the three-year increase was chosen in lieu of this type of increase.

“We were interested in the impact and we found there was no impact,” he said.

However, La Tourette also said the average student takes about 14 credit hours per semester. According to this figure, average students will feel the brunt of a 26.5 percent increase after the full phase-in of the $82.50 per credit hour increase.

The average student’s tuition increased 17.3 percent this year from $1,800 to $2,112 and will increase an additional 6.3 percent next year to $2,244. When this scheduled tuition increase is finished, the tuition for the average student will be $2,310 in academic year 1994-95.

La Tourette said the tuition increase for the 13th through 16th credit hour will not affect “the many students who take 12 credit hours or less because they have to work in order to pay tuition.”

La Tourette also said it is possible, but unlikely, that the IBHE could cut NIU’s general revenue appropriation recommendation amount equal to what NIU would take in from the tuition increase.

“I don’t think that they’ll do that because U of I will also be increasing its tuition and we’ve had discussions with the appropriate people,” La Tourette said.

He said Illinois State University in Normal is following a tuition increase plan similar to the NIU plan.