BOT approves tuition increase, expenditures

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern’s Board of Trustees gave its approval on a 1.5 percent tuition increase, a renewed PBS membership for WEIU TV and various other purchases Friday during its final meeting of the semester.

New freshmen and transfers as well as graduate students will pay $289 per credit hour if they are Illinois residents, an increase of $4 from the previous rate.

Out-of-state students will pay $361 per credit hour for undergraduate tuition and $694 per credit hour for graduate tuition, increases of $5 and $10, respectively.

State law dictates that tuition for new undergraduate residential students is locked in for four continuous academic years.

President David Glassman said the recommendation for a tuition increase in fiscal year 2017 comes from the president’s council based on the assessment of Eastern’s future budgetary needs.

Glassman told the Illinois Senate during a hearing earlier this year that tuition increases would only be minor to keep up with operations and not used to fill in large gaps from the state.

By comparison, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is raising tuition by 9 percent; Southern Illinois University Carbondale is raising tuition by 3 percent, and some community colleges are looking at 10 to 12 percent increases in tuition.

Eastern is spending $275,000 to renew WEIU TV’s membership to Public Broadcasting Services, or PBS.

Paul McCann, interim vice president for business affairs, said this is an annual contract, and the cost is estimated based upon the number of stations involved in the PBS system. He said the cost this year has increased about $25,000.

According to the rationale for the purchase, students are able to gain valuable experience with a PBS affiliated station, and WEIU is recognized as one of the top broadcast training programs in the country.

The board also approved spending $59,099.44 for a two-year lease of two new Panther Shuttle buses from Southern Bus Mobility in Breese, Ill.

McCann said the university would save $8,000 to $9,000 by switching to this bidder from the previous company, Midwest Transit Equipment in Kankakee.

He said Eastern entered into an agreement with students about five years ago that annual student fees would pay for shuttle buses, which has been established and followed through.

“Our part of the deal was that we would provide them with a shuttle bus service around campus,” McCann said. “We have attempted to keep those buses current and modern so that we keep the ridership of the service up and we use the students fees in an appropriate way.”

The buses, which are replaced every two years, are expected to arrive within 90 to 120 days from the time they are ordered.

Other expenses approved Friday include $400,000 for a renewed membership to the CARLI database for Booth Library, $500,000 for a renewed telephone service agreement with Consolidated Communications, and $600,000 for additional library resources from EBSCO Industries.

McCann also shared with the board that Eastern would be contributing about $1.7 million to the $45 million in total the state requires universities to put toward the cost of the healthcare system.

“We do pay this on a quarterly basis; we extend it out as much as we possibly can, but it is a current cost of doing business in the state of Illinois,” he said. “It is one that is always very difficult for us because this is something that we really don’t have a choice in.”

In other business, the board approved the names of 14 professors for tenure and gave the OK for a new master’s program in cybersecurity.

Blair Lord, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the program would be a collaboration between technology and business and represents an area that is growing rapidly in demand.

“We would be building our expertise in offering low-residency online programs,” Lord said. “The coursework is almost entirely delivered online with some lab experiences required in short-term summer residency.”

The new master’s program will now go to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for approval.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is for June 24 on campus.


Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].