BOT approves tuition/fee hikes & Killeen extension

Local News

CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved modest, inflation-based tuition increases for in-state freshmen next fall, the first increases for Illinois students in six years.

Tuition will increase 1.8 percent for incoming in-state freshmen in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, and 1 percent in Springfield. Trustees also approved fee and housing rates for the 2020-21 academic year.

The adjustments in tuition are below the rates of inflation, or the cost of living, as measured by indices used by the U of I System.

The changes in tuition, which follow a five-year freeze in in-state undergraduate tuition that was the longest in more than a half-century, will provide a responsible level of support for a faculty hiring initiative started this year to ensure academic quality keeps pace with record-high enrollment, President Tim Killeen said.

“Faculty are the strength of our system, and these modest increases will help us meet our responsibility to maintain that strength, attracting more of the innovative educators and researchers that draw more and more students to our universities.” Killeen said.

System-wide enrollment has increased 17.9 percent over the past decade, a period during which the number of tenure-track faculty at its universities has declined 2.6 percent.

The imbalance between enrollment and faculty requires larger class sizes, reducing the opportunity for individual student attention, Killeen said. Faculty-student ratios are also key factors in annual rankings of top universities, which influence decisions of prospective students.

To maintain excellence, the hiring initiative launched this academic year seeks to increase tenure-track faculty across the U of I System by nearly 500, or almost 14 percent, over the next five years. A separate initiative targeting established, star faculty has so far added 17 new faculty with more expected soon.

In-state tuition has not increased since the fall of 2014 as part of a commitment by the U of I System to affordability and to Illinois students. Killeen said the modest, inflation-based increases maintain that commitment while providing the system’s three universities with the means to grow faculty and ensure their excellence.

Base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall will increase by $218 to $12,254 a year in Urbana-Champaign, by $192 to $10,776 in Chicago, and by $97.50 to $9,502.50 in Springfield.

Under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, rates for incoming students from Illinois will remain unchanged for four years.

For out-of-state and international freshmen, tuition will increase by 1.8 percent next fall in Urbana-Champaign, 1 percent in Springfield and 3.5 percent in Chicago.

Tuition for several graduate, professional and online programs will increase at all three universities, most by 2 percent or less.

Changes in in-state undergraduate tuition would all be below increases in inflation. The familiar Consumer Price Index, or CPI, increased 2.3 percent in 2019. The Higher Education Price Index, or HEPI, which measures the cost of goods and services in the higher-ed sector, increased 2.5 percent for 2019.

Adjusting tuition within the range of any changes in inflation reflects a policy set by the board in 2011 to use the cost of living as a guide to ensure that any increases remain at levels that are responsible while also providing the revenue required for educational excellence.

The U of I System also has made financial aid to students a priority over the last decade. Institutional financial aid has more than doubled to about $230 million annually over the last 10 years. Only 35 percent of all in-state undergraduates pay full tuition and fees and 25 percent pay no tuition or fees at all.

Undergraduate fees/housing

Trustees also approved student fees for the 2020-21 academic year. In Urbana, those fees will increase 2.5 percent, or $76, to $3,162 per year, and Chicago’s fees will rise 1 percent, or $32, to $3,340 per year. In Springfield, fees will be unchanged, remaining at $2,426 a year. Fees help pay for student health services, library maintenance, student unions and other services and are set in consultation with committees that include students.

Undergraduate room-and-board costs in Urbana, based on the standard double-occupancy room and meal plan, will rise 3.65 percent, or $394, to $11,168 per year. In Chicago, costs will increase 2.6 percent, or $293, to $11,553 per year. In Springfield, the cost for a double-occupancy room in Lincoln Residence Hall with a gold meal plan will remain unchanged at $10,810.

Appointments

Trustees on Thursday appointed William C. Jackson, a former president at Johnson Controls and an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to lead the Discovery Partners Institute.

Jackson joined DPI in a designate capacity on Jan. 6.

Jackson came to DPI after serving as vice president and president of Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls’ Global Products, Building Technologies & Solutions. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Urbana-Champaign, as well as a master’s of business administration from the University of Chicago. He has been chairman of the Board of Visitors for The Grainger College of Engineering at Urbana-Champaign for the last three years.

DPI is a world-class center for research and innovation led by the U of I System. It was created to accelerate job creation and economic growth through groundbreaking research, education and innovation. The state has approved $500 million in funding to develop DPI and the Illinois Innovation Network, a virtually connected network of regional hubs that will spread the DPI’s impact across the state.

Trustees also approved the appointment of university administrator Gregory Knott as the secretary of the Board of Trustees and the University of Illinois System.

Knott began his new duties on Jan. 6 in a designate capacity, allowing an overlapping period of transition with Dedra “Dee Dee” Williams. She will retire June 1 after 30 years with the U of I System, including the last four as secretary.

Knott has been assistant dean of university libraries at Urbana-Champaign since 2013 and a member of the Board of Trustees at Parkland College in Champaign since 2011.

He joined the university in in 2002 as assistant head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Knott has two degrees from the U of I System, a master’s degree in library and information science from Urbana and an MBA from UIS. Knott also earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Illinois State University.

In addition, trustees approved the appointment of Peyton Deterding as director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). He has served in a designate capacity since December 9 and succeeded Clarice Ford, who is the vice chancellor for Student Affairs and had served as interim director of athletics.

Deterding joins UIS from Illinois State University, where he was senior associate athletic director and had worked for 12 years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in exercise and sport science with an emphasis in sports administration from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

Facilities

Trustees also approved a $67.5 million budget and awarded contracts for the renovation of the Illinois Street residence halls, Townsend Hall and Wardall Hall, at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Construction at the two residence halls will address accessibility issues and upgrade mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. New windows and showers also will be installed.

Work is scheduled to be completed at Townsend Hall in July 2020 and at Wardall Hall in July 2021.

Bids were initially sought in September 2019 but exceeded the allotted $59.5 million budget by $12 million. Wardall Hall was removed from the project. Separate bids were sought in November for Wardall Hall and those received were below the earlier bids, allowing administrators to recommend the combined budget for both residence halls be increased by $8 million to the level approved Thursday by trustees.

Also Thursday, the UI BOT voted unanimously to extend President Tim Killeen’s contract by four years, through June 30, 2024.

The four-year extension includes a 19 percent increase in Killeen’s annual compensation and reflects the board’s trust in Killeen’s leadership, which has brought record enrollment, the longest in-state tuition freeze in five decades, and pioneering new workforce and economic development initiatives, Chairman Donald Edwards said.

“The best universities have consistent leadership that is aligned with the board’s goals,” Edwards said. “President Killeen is lifting an already world-class university system ever closer to the ambitious goals the board has set to expand our impact on students and our state. We are grateful for his vision, passion and leadership, and look forward to meeting our rising standards of ‘excellence in scale’ that distinguishes the University of Illinois System.” 

Killeen said he is honored by the board’s confidence, and thanked trustees for the opportunity to continue the momentum that has been building across the U of I System and its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

“This is truly one of the world’s most respected and accomplished university systems, with the talent and commitment to expand its power to transform students’ lives and drive progress for our state and nation,” said Killeen, who took office as the U of I System’s 20th president in 2015 under a five-year contract that expires this summer.

Under the extension, which takes effect July 1, Killeen’s annual compensation will increase for the first time since he took office. He will be paid $835,000 in cash compensation annually, up 19 percent from the $700,000 he received each year under the original contract. That agreement included $600,000 in base salary and $100,000 that he received each year through an incentive-based, pay-for-performance program based on his progress toward goals set by the board. Under the new contract, that incentive pay will become part of his base salary rather than being paid separately. 

With the increase, Killeen’s annual base pay will rank fifth among the 11 Big Ten presidents with multi-campus oversight. Killeen has had no increase in compensation in his first five years as president.

Under the extension, Killeen will be eligible for annual increases when salary programs are authorized for U of I System employees. 

The extension also includes $100,000 per year in deferred compensation that will pay a total of $400,000 if Killeen serves as president through the end of the new contract. No deferred compensation will be paid if Killeen leaves the presidency voluntarily or is terminated before the end of the agreement.

Since taking office, Killeen has helped lead a surge of growth across the state’s flagship university system.

Enrollment is at record highs, topping 89,000 students last fall system-wide, and is up nearly 14 percent since Killeen took office in 2015. Growth includes increases among both in-state and underrepresented students, and has been driven by a commitment to academic excellence, student success and affordability.

A three-year initiative is currently underway that aims to add up to 45 renowned professors to the system’s already world-class faculty ranks, and a first-ever long-range hiring plan seeks to add nearly 500 new tenure-track faculty over the next five years to keep pace with enrollment growth. A $4 billion construction program will build or upgrade nearly 350 facilities over the next decade to ensure classroom and research space matches the system’s academic excellence. Student retention and graduation rates top national norms, while student debt rates are lower than national averages.

Student costs were held in check by a five-year tuition freeze for Illinois students –  unprecedented in more than a half-century – along with ongoing increases that have more than doubled institutional financial aid to about $230 million annually over the last decade. New programs also have been launched, such as Urbana-Champaign’s “Illinois Commitment,” which makes four years of college free for Illinois students with family income below the state’s $61,000 median average.

Killeen, a leading researcher in geophysics and space sciences, has also championed efforts to expand the research discovery that drives progress and job creation. System-wide research funding has increased 4.5 percent to more than $1 billion over his nearly five years as president. He also helped lead creation of two pioneering new initiatives to drive innovation and workforce development – the Discovery Partners Institute, a world-class research center in downtown Chicago, and the Illinois Innovation Network, a system of satellite research hubs that will help spread its impact across the state.

He also reaffirmed the system’s commitment to the arts and humanities, launching a program that pumped nearly $2 million into faculty initiatives that underscore their importance to a well-rounded education and to the public good.

During Killeen’s tenure, fundraising also has reached record highs through a series of campus-based campaigns publically launched in late 2017 that seek to raise a combined $3.1 billion, the most ambitious fundraiser in the U of I System’s history. With about three years left, the three university campaigns have raised over $2.4 billion, 78.5 percent of the goal. 

The successes have helped the system’s three universities rise in rankings of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and other agencies, and are rooted in a Strategic Framework that Killeen helped develop in the first months of his presidency to guide the U of I System for the next decade. The roadmap sets high-aspiration goals to make the U of I System a model for higher education in the 21st century, and build on its more than 150-year legacy of service to students, innovation and the public good.

When he joined the U of I System, Killeen brought more than three decades of experience as an educator, researcher and administrator in public higher education and in leadership positions with national scientific research agencies. Most recently, he served as vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation at the State University of New York (SUNY), one of the nation’s largest higher education systems. In his dual role, he was at the center of SUNY’s strategy for research growth.

Earlier, he served as assistant director for the geosciences at the National Science Foundation, as the Lyall Research Professor at the University of Colorado, and as director and senior scientist for the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He spent more than 20 years as a faculty member and researcher at the University of Michigan, where he also served as associate vice president for research.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007, and is a member and past president of the American Geophysical Union and a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has authored more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, along with more than 300 other publications and papers.

A native of Wales and a U.S. citizen, Killeen received his bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy at University College London, where he also earned his Ph.D. in atomic and molecular physics and was later awarded an honorary doctorate degree.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Fill out my online form.