SIU confident in future despite cuts, tuition hike

The cost of sending your child to college is on the rise after the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition for incoming freshman by 5 percent.

At $22,365 a year, SIU is still a relative bargain for schools in Illinois. However, when compared to similar schools in our area — such as Southeast Missouri State University in Cape  Girardeau, Missouri, which costs $14,986; the University of Tennessee at Martin at $15,904 per year, or Murray State University at $18,480 per year — SIU is the most expensive.

“We don’t want tuition to go up at all,” SIU Student Trustee Adrian Miller said. “We don’t want fees to go up at all. I think we are understanding about where the university is because the state of Illinois has bills it has yet to pay, and the possibility that you’re going to see very large cuts come down the channel.”

Even with the 5 percent tuition increase, SIU will not be immune to the statewide education budget cuts.

“The only thing that stalls that is if we get held even on state support in the FY16 state budget, and nobody is expecting that to happen,” SIU President Randy Dunn said.

Despite the negative impacts of increasing tuition and slashing the budget, Student Trustee Adrian Miller says the school is still a destination.

“What’s unique about SIU is that we’re a research institution,” Miller said. “None of our regional competition is at that level.”

“When you’re on a research campus there is exposure that you don’t get on other campuses, and you have to sell that,” Dunn said.

In addition to the $32 million in budget cuts, SIU President Randy Dunn says the school has already lost an additional $10 million after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner froze grant funding, which has already led to layoffs at the SIU Coal and Energy Research Center and SIU Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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