SIU Trustees Discuss Housing, Tuition Proposals

Dec 7, 2016

A working session in Carbondale brought further information to SIU Trustees, ahead of decisions expected this week and in the months to come.

One plan before SIU Trustees this week would start a new housing project that's been sitting on a shelf for five years.

East Campus conceptual drawing (2011)
Credit SIUC

The proposal would eventually replace The Towers on the east side of the Carbondale campus - an area leaders say is becoming too expensive to maintain and is hurting recruitment efforts.

Trustees will decide whether to issue bonds to pay for the project, or enter into a public-private partnership. Board Chair Randal Thomas says waiting is no longer an option.
"You have to make a decision. You're never going to have a perfect decision. You make the best decision you can with the available information, because you have to get off the spot and move on this."
The proposal before the Board is not new - it was originally presented back in 2011. This plan would break that original proposal into smaller projects - design stage of the first phase is what trustees are considering this week.

The new buildings would allow SIUC to demolish one of the towers in the first phase, and all three would come down by the end of the overall project.

SIU Carbondale administrators say they plan to ask for a 3.8% increase in tuition for new students next fall.

Judy Marshall is the Executive Director for Finance in the Vice Chancellor for Finance Office. She says while it is an increase, because of the state’s “truth in tuition” law guaranteeing rates for four years, the hike isn’t as dramatic as it might seem.

“So when we’re looking at tuition, and planning for that, we have to kind of look at it four years out. That factored into our planning, so on any given year you could look at it as less than one-percent per year.”

The bump would bring the cost per credit hour to $315, and raises a full-time student’s tuition less than $500 overall. Administrators say they’re not recommending an increase in student fees, though they said some groups may advocate for that because of specific needs on campus.

Meanwhile in Edwardsville, administrators are asking for a 5% increase in tuition and a 2.5% hike in student fees.

Trustees won’t be taking action on these proposals at their meeting this week in Carbondale. The recommendations will come back before the board next spring for final consideration.