SIU president announces support of 6 percent tuition hike - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

SIU president announces support of 6 percent tuition hike

SIU President Randy Dunn (Source: KFVS) SIU President Randy Dunn (Source: KFVS)

Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn is talking tuition hikes, which he previously said was a possibility as part of an effort to deal with wide-spread state cuts.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a $400,000,000 slash to higher education earlier this year to deal with what political analyst David Yepsen calls the 'sick budget' of Illinois.

"The Illinois budget is in a crisis condition." Yepsen said after the cuts were first announced. "It's going to take some very dramatic medicine to fix it. We should expect cuts in places we don't want them. This is going to be part of the process."

Those cuts would take $60,000,000 from the SIU system alone.

Dunn said on Friday a 6 percent tuition increase is one of the things that needs to happen in order to bridge the gap.

As for the students, that number would raise in-state tuition by just under $500 per student per academic year.

Many students on the Carbondale campus on Friday responded by explaining one of the things that made them want to come to the school originally was the price compared to similar institutions.

SIU's undergraduate population is within 3,000 of Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, and Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. According to ISU's website, they have a similar tuition hike planned in comparison to SIU, effectively keeping the difference in totals of prescribed tuition and fees by the schools about the same as it has been in recent years.

NIU announced recently that it's restructuring its billing system, which effectively lowers tuition per student to around what SIU students will pay.

SIU has historically been the cheapest of the three by around $1,000 in tuition and fees paid by students every year.

"As a student, if I was back looking and colleges and looking to come here, I would not look at it as strongly probably." Said mass communications major Zach Barrett. "One of the perks of SIU is that it's on the cheaper side, and you can still get a good education."

Senior Sarah Costello agreed with Zach, but also said she can sympathize with the university's need to find funds.

"I think it is the appropriate fix for SIU, in their counteractions towards the state's lack of funding for us," Costello explained, "but it's a really fine line for a lot of students, depending on their financial situations."

If approved in a Board of Trustees Meeting on April 16 in Edwardsville, the tuition hike would affect incoming freshmen starting in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Other attempts by the university to fill a one-third cut in funding include announcements officials have made in recent weeks that explain programs which 'aren't essential to SIU's overall mission will be on the chopping block.

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