Currently, under the Truth in Tuition Act of 2003, college students
pay their freshman-year tuition for four years in order to avoid
mid-college tuition increases.
However, now that many college
students are taking longer than four years to obtain their
undergraduate degrees, state Rep. Dan Burke, D-Chicago, saw the need
for a tuition freeze extension.
"We currently have a tuition freeze in our state for individuals
enrolled in four-year universities," said Burke, who is sponsoring
the legislation. "This bill would add an additional freeze on two
years for those who are unable to comply with the four-year
Under the bill, which passed 66-43, colleges can opt to use what
would have been the student's sophomore-year tuition for the
extended period of the freeze, Burke said.
"It's something that would support their situation tremendously,"
Burke said. "Just to know that tuition would not be raised in their
undergraduate experience, I think, is something they'd have to be
very impressed with and very happy with."
State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, rose against the bill because
it would not benefit incoming freshmen, since their tuition would be
increased to cover the extended freezes. He said the state still
owes universities too much money, forcing many schools to consider
major tuition increases.
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"As we sit here today, the University of Illinois is owed $485
million," Black said. "The other four-year institutions in total are
owed over $850 million. When we don't appropriate the funds or even
meet our budget projections, then where else do the universities
have to go but tuition increases?"
State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, agreed with Black.
"Now you can sit and go back to those students that are there
right now and (say), 'Oh, look what we did for you. We froze your
rate,’" Bost said. "But, what are you going to tell the incoming
freshman when they have their rates tripled to cover these
(students) that are outgoing that are not paying the amount that it
costs to operate that school?"
Statehouse News; By ASHLEY BADGLEY]