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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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U of I Tuition Increase demands consideration

Incoming freshmen at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I) will face a 4.8 percent tuition increase, ranking it the fifth most expensive public school in the country with an annual tuition totaling $11,636.

Out of 108 students of the class of 2011 that applied to U of I, 63 attended. College counselor Ann LePage said it will be interesting to see if the tuition raise will affect the number of South students who commit from South’s Class of 2012.

Senior Nihreer Matani committed to U of I’s College of Engineering because it’s less expensive than other schools at the top of his list, including the University of Madison-Wisconsin and University of Michigan. Matani said he is willing to pay a little extra for U of I in order to get the best education possible.

“Cost is definitely a big [factor],” Matani said. “Especially in these economic times, it’s tough to fork out $30,000. But still, academic excellence takes precedence over cost.”

Senior Delaney Wharton expressed her family’s frustration with the tuition increase since her sister has attended U of I for two years at a lower cost. Her sister’s tuition will not be affected by this year’s increase, as state law requires that the tuition paid by freshmen will remain locked in for their class for four years.

“My grandparents were talking about how they don’t understand why school’s so expensive now,” Wharton said. “They feel like, to get an education, it’s not really fair that you have to pay so much.”

According to Chicago Tribune, university trustee Timothy Koritz worries that increasingly high tuition will exceed Illinois students’ budgets, drawing them to other schools or forcing them to abandon college entirely. Koritz questions whether runaway spending is to blame for the increase. According to LePage, U of I is in a similar situation as many state schools.

“[U of I] finds themselves in a cost crunch where their costs are exceeding their revenues, and particularly the revenues coming in from the state of Illinois, which have been compromised in recent years because of the situation in our state budget,” LePage said. “And as a result, they’re passing the burden on to students through increased tuition.”

In efforts to relieve the country of rising college tuition, the Obama administration proposed a plan that would award schools increased federal funding to keep prices down and academic standards up, according to a Daily Illini article by university student Rebecca Rosman. According to Rosman, this plan would force schools like U of I to cut costs or face a decrease in funding from taxpayers.

“[U of I isn’t] going to be foregoing the football coach›s $1 million salary or the President›s $40,000 rug,” Rosman said. “Rather, they›re probably going to be targeting programs and activities which will directly affect students, like cultural house, [Registered Student Organization] activity, or discovery course funding. That›s what students should be thinking about.”

The tuition increase did not deter senior Ryan Anastasia, who committed to U of I because he wanted to experience the energy of a Big 10 university. Anastasia said he hoped for merit-based scholarships as well as financial aid from the university through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). According to LePage, while U of I will continue to grant need-based aid depending on a family’s financial situation as recorded in the FAFSA, opportunities for merit-based aid may be reduced.

“As far as merit-based aid, there are some scholarships that you can apply to, but when a school has financial constraints, unfortunately that merit-based pool is shrinking also, so there’s not as much merit-based aid as good, strong students, the ones that apply to U of I, would hope for,” LePage said.

Like Matani, senior Grace O’Gara’s top choice, Miami of Ohio, was still more expensive than U of I, even after O’Gara received scholarship money. O’Gara said her parents were willing to send her to any college she wanted to attend, but it was her decision to keep price in mind when making the decision.

“They say you can’t put a price on a good education, but the universities do,” O’Gara said. “It’s a really big deal because as an 18 year old kid, you want to make sure that you’re making the best choice for yourself and your parents.”


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