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University of Illinois Approves a 9.5 Percent Tuition Increase

uofiThe University of Illinois has long since been known as having one of the most complicated tuition structures in the country. Tuition rates for each of their programs varies greatly and even if you know the tuition rate, you also better be sure of which areas of study include surcharges. For example, if you are an art student, you need to budget an additional $1500 in college costs over and above your tuition expenses.

This last Thursday, the trustees for U of I voted in favor of raising tuition by 9.5 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year. At the same meeting, they approved a $170,000 salary increase ($620,000) for the role of University President.

As you can imagine, this decision did not come without opposition. Students and faculty voiced their concern over the tuition rate increase and stated that “it was ridiculous” and that “the school is just not affordable”.

Undergrad tuition rates for the upcoming academic year are slated to be $10,386 at the Urbana-Champaign campus, $9,134 at the Chicago campus and $8,108 at the Springfield campus. If you would like more detailed information about the fees at the University of Illinois, you can check out their fee schedule here.

If you are a student (or parent of a student) and you are looking for ways to help absorb this additional tuition expense, please don’t hesitate to take a look at my article for approaches to paying for college. Hopefully it can provide you with some possible solutions.

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Georgia College System Approves 16% Tuition Increase

GeorgiaBoardofRegentsAnother state college system bites the dust.. not literally.. I just mean that a long line of public colleges have been adopting higher and higher tuition increases to make up for the reduced funding being provided by their respective state budgets and now the great state of Georgia is following suit.

The Georgia Board of Regents recently approved tuition increases for the 2010-2011 academic year ranging from a low of 4% to an all-time high of 16% for the 35 public colleges and universities. The research institutions are being hit the hardest (16% increase) while the community colleges are only going to experience the 4% bump in fees.

The tuition increases are expected to cover about $80 million of the $227 million dollars reduced in the state budget for higher education.  “Over the last few years, we have had an economic tsunami like none of us has ever experienced,” Usha Ramachandran, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs at the University System of Georgia, told the board.

The following is a comprehensive spreadsheet reflecting all the tuition rates for each college and university falling under the management of the Georgia Board of Regents.

Tuition Rates (Per Semester) Academic Year 2010-2011

If you are a student or family from the Georgia College System and need assistance to help absorb this increase in tuition, check out my article for approaches to paying for college (after the first year). Hopefully it gives you some insight to help make the impact on your checkbook much lighter.

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College Costs On The Rise

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Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

KentuckyflagI have recently gotten some flack from some of my reader base coming from the great state of Kentucky. Apparently they were feeling like a “red headed step-child” since I have not covered any college affordability news in their region… Hopefully today’s article (as grim as it may be) will help to satisfy their concerns and provide them the attention in which they yearn. 😉

The state of Kentucky is following suit with numerous other states in that they are having budget issues that deeply impact the way they provide higher education to their students. Recently, the Kentucky Council for Post-Secondary Education imposed a 4% to 6% limit (cap is set by institution) on how much tuition can be raised for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year (Details Below).

This is certainly great news for the students attending these schools but the college administrators are thinking otherwise. Given the current state budgets (or lack there of) the colleges are questioning the limit on tuition increases because even if they impose the full percentage allowed, they still will be unable to get out of the red and into the black (meaning.. they won’t have enough current revenue to cover current expenses).

After maximizing the full tuition increase allowed, the following is a sampling of some of the budget issues schools will be encountering:

  • University of Kentucky – Will have a $7.6 million dollar operating deficit
  • Eastern Kentucky University – Will have a $3.8 million dollar deficit
  • Kentucky State University – Will have a $6.2 million dollar deficit
  • Morehead State University – Will experience a $3.8 million dollar deficit

Given these budget shortfalls, any extra-curricular programs or activities on these campuses may be under scrutiny (and possibly on the chopping block) if the Kentucky Public College System doesn’t collaboratively work with State of Kentucky and the Council for Post-Secondary Education to come up with some viable solutions. In the meantime, the students get the benefit of this decision (capping tuition increase), for the short-term, in their checkbooks when it comes time to make those tuition payments.

Unfortunately, those students that are used to receiving funding from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) may need to start looking at other options based upon an announcement earlier this week. It appears that KHEAA has ran out of funds and is in the process of sending letters out to 16,599 students to let them know that they will not be receiving any assistance. The maximum amount of this award for the coming academic year is $1,900 per student. Local colleges are going to try and minimize the impact for their students but they say that the pool of money allocated for these situations is quite small and will never be able to fully cover the loss…

Well… that is my Kentucky Higher Ed snapshot for the day.. some good news (cap on tuition increases), some bad news (KHEAA grant out of funds), and some ugly news (state budget crisis impacting public colleges).

Here is the information regarding the pricing for the 2010-2011 academic year:

Increase up to 6 percent

University of Kentucky


2010-11 ceiling: $8,610

Increase: $487


2010-11 ceiling: $8,859

Increase: $501

University of Louisville

2010-11 ceiling: $8,424

Increase: $480

Increase up to 4 percent

Kentucky Community and Technical College System

2010-11 ceiling: $130 per credit hour:

Increase: $5 per credit hour

Increase up to 5 percent

Western Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,560

Increase: $360

Eastern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,628

Increase: $316

Kentucky State University:

2010-1 ceiling: $6,216

Increase: $296

Morehead State University

2010-11 ceiling: $246 per credit hour

Increase: $12 per credit hour

Murray State University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,264

Increase: $288

Northern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,128

Increase: $336

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Help! My College Tuition Has Increased Beyond Affordability

helpareaderseriesI recently received a question from a reader regarding the tuition increase at their college for the 2010-2011 academic year. The student is currently a sophomore and will be a junior next year. Their school adopted a 7% increase in tuition and fees which equates to an extra $1500 that they will need to come up with (since it will not be covered by financial aid). From what I can tell, it appears that this $1500 may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back (or their checkbook) and may keep this student from attending their college next year.

The unfortunate part about this situation is that this student is not alone in their worries. Millions of students across the nation are facing tuition increases this year and all of us that are more seasoned about this process know that financial aid does not necessarily increase dollar for dollar to cover this extra expense (if financial aid fully negated all tuition increases, schools would not go through the hassle of increasing tuition rates…).

I would suggest the following for our reader (and anyone else experiencing a similar situation):

  • Follow-up with the Financial Aid Office – They may not be able to do anything to help offset the increase but you will never know unless you ask.
  • Look for Additional Scholarships at the College- Most scholarship opportunities are for first year students but every now and again you can luck into a scholarship that is designated for a student that is further along in their educational path and has a set vocation in mind. Since donors often restrict how their scholarships are awarded you (with the help of your financial aid office) should be able quickly identify any extra funding for which you would qualify. For example, some donors restrict their funds for a student going into a specific profession or graduating with a certain major (or both). These type of awards are rarely awarded to first year students because they usually don’t have their major selected nor do they really know what they want to do for the rest of their life (college usually helps to define this for them) So, these type of awards are geared more to upper class students.
  • Look For Grant Money From A State Program– When you started at the school, a particular state program may not have been available but, during your course of attendance, budgets and programs can change at the state level all the time. For instance, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are hot subjects right now and students majoring in these fields in the state of Ohio have had the opportunity to receive extra scholarship dollars since 2008 (my assumption is that Ohio is not the only state to have this type of initiative).
  • Check Out Educational Loans Certainly don’t recommend this option unless all other resources have been exhausted. There are a number of different loan programs available to students and their parents. You should start with the federal loan programs (Direct Stafford, Parent PLUS, Perkins) and then start looking at private alternative loans (Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Discover). Also, check with your school to see if they have any private loan funds available for students (interest rates are usually more favorable on these types of loans…)
  • Get a Second Job– Chances are you already have a couple jobs you are undertaking to try and make ends meet at college. However, if your sleep schedule allows, try to pick up an additional job (night shift at a local hotel is great for studying while on the job!). Other money-making options could come from selling your plasma, participating in research studies, and/or tutoring.
  • Transfer to a Cheaper College – If finances are really keeping you from continuing your education at your school and you have exhausted all the options above, try and find a cheaper alternative. Over the past few years, the transfer process has been greatly simplified by a number of colleges and universities. You should have no problem with making a timely transfer to a school that has lower fees or is closer to home and will save you some living expense by giving you the opportunity to bunk up with mom and dad for a couple more years. ( I know.. the implications on your social life might be strained but it is only temporary!)

I hope this information helps to provide an answer for our reader’s question. If anyone else would like to add to the list above and provide other solutions, please feel feel free to do so in the comment selection below. The more we all know.. the better!

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Colorado’s State College System Adopts Tuition Increase

ColoradoThe University of Colorado Board of Regents recently voted in favor of imposing a tuition increase on each of the four campuses located in their state. The following is a breakdown of the fees for each school:

  • Boulder Campus – a 9 percent increase will set the annual tuition rate to $7,018 for the 2010-2011 academic year
  • Colorado Springs – a 7.2 percent increase will bring the annual tuition rate to $6,270 for the 2010-2011 academic year
  • Denver Campus – a 9 percent increase on tuition is slated; detailed costs can be found here
  • Anschutz Medical Campus – an 8.8 percentage increase ($420) will be adopted for the nursing program and the medical school tuition will rise by 6.5 percent or $1,722

It appears that the tuition increases were unavoidable given the state of Colorado’s budget shortfall of $2 Billion dollars over the past two years. “Cuts in operating and other costs, including the elimination of some positions, are also in the works”, said Kelly Fox, CU’s chief financial officer. CU has already cut $50 million in operating and other costs for the current year, eliminating 200 positions.

While tuition increases are never welcomed, it appears that Colorado joins the long list of state college systems that are currently being tapped to help with budget deficits.

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Arizona Students Brace for Historically High Tuition Increase

ABORState budgets are tight and colleges and universities counting on sustained funding from their governors (and not receiving it) are starting to look at other sources to help make ends meet. Unfortunately, there are only two ways in which a college can help the bottom line, they either have to increase net tuition and fees or rely upon the fund raising office to bring in the funds.

Arizona’s three state universities are selecting the first option (raising tuition this coming fall semester) to put the budget back in the black.

The University of Arizona is leading the pack by pushing a 31% increase in tuition and fees for undergraduate students attending next year. Arizona State University is close behind with a 19% increase for incoming students and a variable increase (estimated to be around 14%) for all returning students depending on which year they started. Northern Arizona University rounds out the increases by proposing a 16% jump in fees for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Northern Arizona University is making a compromise to incoming students by freezing their tuition at that level for the next eight semesters. However, after that, they will be susceptible to future increases.

Of course, these fees have to be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents but given that they increased tuition twice last year, it is very likely that they will easily put their stamp of approval on these tuition increase proposals.

In 2008, these three institutions received $1 billion dollars from the state budget. In 2009, they received $810 million and in 2010 they are on schedule to lose another $231 million in funding. It certainly does not make the tuition increases any easier on the checkbook of students attending these institutions but it does help to provide some understanding for the significant jump in fees.

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30% Tuition Fee Increase… Are You Serious?

tuitionincreaseSometimes I come across information that I know for sure just has to be someone trying to pull my leg. When I read about a thirty percent increase in tuition last week, I knew that it could not be true and that it had to be a ploy to capture my attention.

Unfortunately though, the information is very true and downright scary. Those students and families going to school and living in California know that their state is making some serious decisions to try and bring the budget back under control. One of the largest expenditures (next to the prison system) is that of the state higher education system. Even though Governor Schwarzenegger pledged earlier this year to spare the education system from future budget cuts, it appears that the option is back on the table.

“California’s $20 billion deficit will make it hard for the [state’s] legislature to provide funding to the schools,” said Patrick Lenz, UC Berkeley’s budget administrator.

Given the cuts that are planned to happen, the University of California stated that a thirty percent increase in tuition for 2010-2011 is inevitable. They say that is the only way they are going to be able to provide the services and education that students are accustomed to. Unfortunately, this sizable tuition increase is still not going to solve all of their financial woes. It is estimated that they will still have a hole in the budget of approximately $237 million dollars.

At first glance you may think a thirty percent increase in tuition costs is extreme and hard to stomach. That type of pricing increase doesn’t sit well with anyone. However, the annual tuition rate at public colleges and universities in the California state system is around $7,000. This is relatively low in comparison to other state higher education systems and it is extremely low if you compare it to a private education price tag.

Does this make the thirty percent increase more palpable? I don’t know.. but it does sound like students graduating from the California college scene have been getting a great deal on their educational expenses. The unfortunate part is that it appears this great pricing structure is about to make a shift that is more in line with the rest of the country.

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