Editorial: Raise in tuition could be necessary

Staff Editorial

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As the 2016 fiscal year nears its end on June 30, many people have probably noticed that this year was a bit different from other years.

What was so different though? A trip to Ilbudgetclock.com can provide the answer, and it shows that Illinois has now gone through nine months and 13 days without a budget.

And it seems incredibly likely that the fiscal year will end without a state budget in place.

The Council on University Planning and Budget heard proposals to increase tuition for incoming students, and it also announced that no further adjustments in terms of layoffs, furloughs, or salary deferrals will be made until June 30.

According to Monday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News, the article titled, “CUPB hears proposed increase in tuition rate,” said the rise in tuition rate proposed was 1.5 percent.

This would raise the price by $4 per credit hour for resident undergraduate students and by $5 for non-resident undergraduate students. Eastern’s online financial aid guide lists the current price for resident undergrad students and for bordering students at $285 per credit hour, and $356 for undergrad non-resident students for the 2015-16 academic year.

As Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan continue their rivalry with neither budging on their stances nor showing signs of a resolution, the state and higher education continues to take hits.

While a tuition increase is not ideal, it could very well be necessary in order to allow the university to continue operating the following school year.

President David Glassman said in The News’ article that if tuition were to increase, it would be in the range of 1 to 2 percent total. The small rise in tuition will put Eastern at third in lowest tuition for the state.

Eastern is also not the only school proposing increasing in tuition because of the lack of state appropriations. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is raising tuition by 9 percent; Southern Illinois University Carbondale is raising it by 3 percent; and some community colleges are looking at a 10- to 12-percent increase in tuition.

As the General Assembly continues to do whatever it is they do these days, higher education is forced to continue making adjustments wherever possible in order to continue operating for the upcoming school year.

Higher education cannot wait to find out if there will be budget for the 2017 fiscal year. Schools need to plan now in case there is a similar situation, and schools are taking the necessary steps to be safe, including Eastern.

Layoffs, furloughs and salary deferrals are not things that people want to happen but they are things currently helping Eastern stay open, and a raised tuition rate will also help Eastern.

The proposed raise is not much different than the tuition now, and it still puts Eastern at one of the lowest spots for tuition in the state. Other schools are proposing larger increases due to the lack of appropriations from the state.

Higher education is not in a spot it wants to be, but universities continue to make adjustments that are best for the schools.

Until the General Assembly, Gov. Rauner and House Speaker Madigan figure out a budget, which is hopefully sooner than later, Illinois and its school will continue to struggle.

The daily editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Daily Eastern News