Budget Mess: 20% Tuition Hike at Top State School?

U of I tuition could reach more than $10,000 per year

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    Illinois' most prestigious public university could soon feel like a private one -- at least to a student's wallet -- due to holes in the school's budget. 

    "Students and parents are the only thing keeping our heads above water," Interim School President Stanley Ikenberry to the Champaign News Gazette when discussing a possible tuition increase that could reach as high as 20 percent.

    Incoming students will have to bail the school out because the state certainly isn't. The Illinois legislature owes the school close to $500 million in payments. But with a $13 billion deficit on the books in Springfield, its not a sure bet that the bills will get paid. 

    The schools only option is to raise rates and borrow money -- two ideas they're loathe to attempt. The school already imposed mandatory furloughs.

    "I don't think we can cut our way through this, and I don't think we can tax increase our way out of it," Interim School President Stanley Ikenberry to the Champaign News Gazette. He said the tuition hike could be steep, but thinks it won't quite hit 20 percent.

    Only incoming freshman would be affected by a potential tuition increase because current students are grandfathered in to their current rate.

    In 2009-2010 academic year, U of I students paid an annual rate of $9,484. A 20 percent tuition hike would cost students about $45,520 over four years. In comparison, that would be only about $3,000 less than two years at Bradley University in Peoria.

    A specific tuition proposal will not go before the University of Illinois board until May at the earliest, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.