This fall’s crop of freshmen at Northern Illinois University can expect to pay $200 more in tuition per semester than last year’s freshmen. The NIU Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase of 4.75% at its meeting Thursday.
The increase applies to incoming students only: Illinois has had a Truth-in-Tuition law since 2005 that guarantees the same tuition rate for students in good standing for nine continuous semesters. NIU President John Peters says this year’s increase only affects 28% of the students and by no means will make up for state budget cuts.
More cuts coming
President Peters also updated the Board on the university’s state funding situation. He says the Board of Higher Education is on a path to cut 6.14% of NIU’s funding in the next fiscal year. For NIU, that means a cut of more than six-million dollars. Peters says lawmakers are discussing cutting state-funded Monetary Award Program grants for students in need by 14-million dollars as well, or requiring matching dollars to be sliced from university budgets. Overall, according to Peters, state funding for Northern is 24% lower than it was a decade ago.
More campus time for sophomores?
NIU is planning a major change in student residency requirements: second-year students will have to live on campus in university housing. Currently, only freshmen are required to live in residence halls, and there are a number of exemptions. NIU officials say requiring second year students to live on campus will help retention and improve safety. The change wouldn’t go into effect until fall of 2015. President Peters is among the university administrators who will be examining all of the pros and cons of the plan before it goes to the Board of Trustees for a vote at its September meeting. The residency requirement is part of a bigger campus makeover plan NIU officials have dubbed "The Residential Renaissance."