Tuition Increase Approved

Aris Showers, IV Leader Opinion Editor

Illinois’ state budget stalemate has some colleges reeling from lack of funds. In order to counteract no disbursement from the state for this fiscal year, the IVCC board voted Feb. 11 to increase tuition costs.

Tuition will increase by $5 per credit hour, which means the cost of a one-credit hour class increases to $124.

This year’s increase is less than the increase from last year of $8.

IVCC President Jerry Corcoran stated, “Our current tuition and universal fee rate of $119 per credit hour is well below the state average of $125.49.”

Corcoran expects other community colleges to also increase tuition this year, leaving IVCC below the state average.

Students can expect to see the new tuition rates beginning with the upcoming summer semester.

In addition, fee changes were approved for some courses. The board approved fee increases on 49 courses and decreases on four others.

Overall, the state budget failure has college students across Illinois concerned about how they’ll be able to afford their college tuition.

The lack of funding of the MAP  (Monetary Assistance Program) grants has displaced many students and forced them not to return for the Spring semester at some colleges. The Wall Street Journal reported a quote from University of Illinois student body president Mitch Dickey, saying “There are a lot of students at risk right now of losing money and dropping out of school.”

The state budget is at a dire impasse, but there’s still no resolution.

IVCC students, on the other hand, were able to continue taking classes because the  college covered MAP grants for the fall and spring semesters.

IVCC Sophomore Torri Leek, 20, said she has to pay for college herself and receives help from the MAP grant. Leek explained how she felt when IVCC decided to cover the funding of the grant.

“I was excited,” she said, “because I could save whatever money I had left over for when I transferred.”

Chicago State University students weren’t as fortunate. The university is in a critical state and preparing to start program cuts and layoffs, according to reports by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Students at CSU have staged several protests after finding out their school was in jeopardy of closing. According to news outlets, students at CSU decided to get the attention of the media, by staging a walk out that interrupted the busy expressway at 95th and Dan Ryan just last month. The state budget standstill has resulted in a backlash from students of CSU.

IVCC’s budget issues with the state aren’t as detrimental as other colleges in Illinois.

Corcoran explained, “The college anticipated $2.5 million in operating funds from the state for fiscal year 2016.”

Corcoran further stated, “A goal was set several years ago to always maintain at least 25 percent of our budgeted funds in reserve.” Corcoran said this is how IVCC has been able to maintain expenses during the budget predicament.

Corcoran was asked if there was a possibility of the college closing and he stated, “We are by no means in jeopardy of closing as a result of the state’s unfortunate financial situation.”

The Illinois state budget stalemate even drew the attention of President Barack Obama. Obama visited  Springfield to address the General Assembly on Feb. 10.

Obama said compromising gives the “opportunity to find some common ground, it doesn’t make me a sell out to my own party.” The next General Assembly meeting will determine how far Obama words moved lawmakers.

In the meantime, IVCC has not received funds for this year, and students will pay more in tuition starting this summer.