Modest tuition increase offset by decrease in room rates
During its Feb. 27 special meeting, the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University approved a proposal that would keep the cost of tuition, room and board rates for new students steady for the 2014-15 academic year.
By a 6-2 vote, the trustees approved a package that included a 2 percent increase in tuition and fees for new students only while dropping housing rates by 2.7 percent. Costs for board will remain level, according to the measures.
“In this uncertain state funding environment, it is prudent for NIU to hedge against potential state budget cuts through a modest tuition increase that is consistent with other Illinois institutions who have set their tuition,” said NIU Interim Chief Financial Officer Nancy Suttenfield, referencing the sunset of the state’s temporary tax increase.
“NIU is committed to finding cost savings and efficiencies within the university operation in the coming year. We are pleased to be able to reduce room rates in most NIU residence halls and maintain flat board costs for the upcoming academic year, resulting in no increase in the overall cost of attendance from this year for entering students. Tuition for continuing students remains flat based on the state’s Truth-in-Tuition law.”
For a full-time undergraduate student with 15 credit hours, tuition would increase by $6.05 per credit hour, or $90.75 per semester. The fixed rate of tuition would remain in effect for nine semesters, as per NIU policy, which exceeds the Illinois Truth-in-Tuition statute that maintains a fixed tuition rate of four years for continuously enrolled students.
Earlier in the day, Suttenfield presented guiding principles for annual budget planning and multi-year financial planning. As part of a review of the management process and related timelines for developing recommendations for the “pricing” of students’ total cost of attendance, NIU advanced the timeline for approving tuition, fees and room and board.
In previous years, NIU has announced cost of attendance in late spring. Because the state appropriation is an increasingly smaller portion of the overall university’s operating revenue – and to allow students to best examine cost of attendance and financial aid award letters, which are typically distributed in March – NIU accelerated the timeline for its announcement.
“Northern Illinois University is committed to affordability and access, and it is our desire to continue to manage our finances in a public and transparent manner,” added NIU President Doug Baker. “This package is the result of a careful assessment of costs and benefits in relation to the alignment with NIU’s mission, strategic goals and obligations related to the university’s service of our region.”