WIU BOT votes to increase student fees on both campuses

MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) — Two weeks after the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees met to discuss student fees, the board met again Monday to continue their discussion.

During the May 6 meeting, board members voted to not increase tuition for incoming students due to COVID-19. The board voted again Monday to keep the 2020-2021 tuition rate the same as the current year. This means students will pay $296.10 per credit hour for undergraduate students. The cost for graduate students will also remain at $339.82 per credit hour. The board also voted not to raise room and board fees or the meal plan for the upcoming school year. Students will pay about $9,800 in room and meal plan.

Another measure board members voted on was whether to increase fees for new students. Members voted to increase fees for students on the Macomb campus or online by $1.91. WIU officials said the increase is supposed to go to student activities, facilities, technology and transit fees.

The WIU Student Government Association approved the bill in March to increase student fees. Before the increase went into effect, the BOT had to approve fees. Currently, the 2019-2020 rate is $92.78 per credit hour.  This means the average full-time student (15 credit hours per semester) would pay $94.69 per semester, per credit hour. Overall, for an average full-time student, the increase would be $28.65 for 15 credit hours starting in fall 2020.

WIU officials said the student-run newspaper, The Western Courier, is moving to an online publication in the fall which will free up that fee. Currently students pay $18.90 a year for the publication fee. Starting next year, that money will be equally separated into the fine arts, athletics and talent grant fees. But those three fees will all see a decrease in funding due to the plan board members voted on.

Student fees for students on the Quad Cities campus will increase $42.44 per credit hour. Officials said the fees will allow for investment for more services for students on the campus. The rate for Quad Cities face-to-face courses will be incrementally adjusted over a four-year period with the first phase starting this fall. By the end of the four years, students at the Quad Cities campus will pay the same in fees as Macomb students.

“I appreciate the concern expressed by students in the Quad Cities campus that they cannot take advantage of the services provided,” WIU Interim President Martin Abraham said. “However, there are many ways to distinguish specific groups of students and all students are asked to pay these fees, regardless of whether they use the services. Quad Cities students point out that they are mostly commuter students, so to are many of the Macomb students. Our objective is to have one university with all students choosing from a set of services that best meet their individual needs.”

The next BOT meeting will be June 11 and 12 at the Quad Cities campus.