U. of I. President Tim Killeen Talks Tuition Hikes, Enrollment


The University of Illinois just awarded its president, Tim Killeen, a big honor: a four-year contract renewal along with a 40% pay hike. His base annual salary increases from $600,000 to $835,000 under the new contract.

Killeen oversees the system’s universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. And despite an overall drop in college enrollment across Illinois, the U. of I.’s campuses at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago are seeing record enrollment.

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Killeen has been praised for implementing a tuition freeze for in-state students for the last six years. But last week, the University of Illinois trustees unanimously approved a tuition hike for Illinois residents of 1.8% at the campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, and 1% for Springfield.

A day after that announcement, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the University of Illinois would expand its newly created free tuition program for lower-income families.

“I’m pleased today to announce that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has agreed to my request that they expand free tuition to families who can least afford the cost of college,” Pritzker said at a press conference Friday. “I asked them to lift the income threshold for the Illinois Commitment program by an additional 10% for the coming school year. That means that more than half the households in the state will qualify for free tuition.” 

The Illinois Commitment program, which began in fall 2019, provides scholarships and grants to cover tuition and fees for students who are Illinois residents with a household income below $61,000. The program will now offer free tuition to students with family incomes up to $67,000. The governor expects students applying for fall 2020 will be able to access free tuition under the revised income levels.

How will the University of Illinois make up for the lost revenue? Will the free tuition program help stem the tide of Illinois high school graduates leaving for out-of-state colleges? We ask Killeen on “Chicago Tonight.”   


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