The University of Illinois has raised tuition for freshman starting next fall by about 2.6 percent on each of its three campuses.
University trustees' three-member executive committee voted at a meeting Wednesday to increase in-state tuition at the school's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign to $9,484 a year. Tuition will increase to $8,342 a year at the Chicago campus and $7,402.50 a year at the Springfield campus.
Under Illinois law, incoming freshmen will pay those rates for the next four years. Rates for current students won't increase.
The committee decided against a 4 percent increase that had been recommended by university administrators.
"In my discussion with state legislators about operating funds for 2009-10, I said we would do our best to minimize as much as possible this year's tuition increase for students and their families," university President B. Joseph White said in a news release. "The more modest tuition increase for 2009-10 will help us maintain academic excellence and increase financial aid."
Including housing costs and fees, incoming freshmen in Urbana-Champaign will spend $20,094 a year starting next fall. The total annual cost will be $20,324 in Chicago and $18,215 in Springfield.
The university has attributed annual increases in tuition in recent years to decreases in state funding and increases in salaries and other expenses.
Wednesday's meeting, held via teleconference and attended by a number of trustees who are not part of the executive committee, included lengthy discussion about tuition.
Trustee David Dorris, who isn't part of the committee, said the university is not solving its financial problems by raising tuition, just saddling students with greater debts.
Student trustees Elias Pittos of the Chicago campus and D. Craig McFarland from the Springfield campus said they opposed any increase.
Many other public universities in the state have already increased tuition for next year.
Eastern Illinois in Charleston raised in-state tuition by 9.6 percent to $7,710 a year, following a 12 percent increase last year.
Western Illinois raised in-state tuition for incoming freshmen by 7.2 percent to $6,778 a year.
And Southern Illinois University increased tuition by 4.5 percent to $7,290 a year at its Carbondale campus and 6 percent to $6,201 at the Edwardsville campus.