SIU Trustees have approved tuition and fee rates for next year, as well as a plan to develop a new housing area on the Carbondale campus.
Incoming students at Southern Illinois University will pay a bit more next year - but leaders say the system is still among the most affordable in the state.
Carbondale's new students will see a 3.9% increase in tuition, while Edwardsville's incoming class will pay 5% more. System President Randy Dunn says they're carefully weighing the cost of higher education with the cost of doing business.
"We understand that we're hitting the ceiling on tuition. I think there's a recognition - as we hear from our families - that, particularly for low-income families, it takes a larger and larger percentage of family income to now pay for public university education."
SIU Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook says overall cost is high on his radar - but so is the final product.
"I think a very important number is the debt load when students leave. So monitoring and tracking, with whatever your tuition is, what does that mean four years later when a student is exiting? And that's something that's a very important part of our conversation."
In addition to tuition increases, SIU Carbondale's student health insurance fee is going up - the only mandatory fee to see a bump. Edwardsville students will pay about two-point-five percent more in fees.
SIU Carbondale will enter into a public-private partnership as the campus moves forward with a new housing project.
Trustees approved the so-called "P-3" plan Thursday at their meeting in Edwardsville with one no vote - from Trustee Shirley Portwood.
"It's an underdeveloped proposal that needs more input from stakeholders, including the SIU community, the Carbondale community, as well as the citizens and taxpayers of the state of Illinois."
SIU President Randy Dunn says he understands Portwood's concerns, but he says many of them will likely be addressed during the early stages of the process.
"It's a different approach to doing things, and the specifics of that get done when you actually select the developer through qualifications-based process, and negotiate out an agreement."
The proposal, which will begin demolition of the Towers on the east side of campus, will build newer facilities with a more modern design.
Campus leaders say they hope to be able to move students into the new residence hall by the Fall of 2019.