Campus Connection.
March 21, 2003 Volume 19, Number 15


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Western's Board Of Trustees Tables Tuition Hike

Western's Board of Trustees tabled a proposed 13 percent tuition increase for students entering the University in Fall 2003, expressing its concern that a higher increase may be required to meet budget needs because of announced reductions in state support.

President Al Goldfarb said the Bureau of the Budget has asked Western to reserve $4.8 million from its FY03 (current year) and FY04 (next year) budgets. The University and the Illinois Board of Higher Education is working with the Bureau of Budget to clarify the exact amount of dollars to be placed in reserve for the current year.

In response to the budget information the Board delayed any decision on the proposed increase, which would have applied only to incoming students at Western. Students who enter Western are guaranteed they will pay the same rate for tuition, fees and on-campus room and board for their four years of continuous enrollment.

Students who enrolled at Western in the 1999-2000 year are charged $91 per semester hour. Those students have experienced an overall increase in costs of 3.18 percent from FY2000 to the current fiscal year, due to increased costs in health insurance. Tuition and fee increases for students attending other Illinois public universities during the same four-year period increased from 15 to 35 percent. The semester-hour rate for the Western Fall 2002 entering class is $115.50.

The Board authorized Goldfarb to approve construction project awards for the construction of a new 182-bed residence hall in the former Bennett Hall location, remodeling of Henninger Hall and renovation of East Village apartments. Bids will be received mid- to late-March. The Bennett Hall location facility includes double and single suite-style rooms and has an estimated construction cost of $7.6 million. Improvements to Henninger Hall and East Village are estimated at $1.3 million and $500,000, respectively. Funding was approved by the Board at its Nov. 16, 2001 meeting.

A change in bylaws was approved by the Board to include domestic partners of employees in University benefits regarding use of employee leave, educational benefits and other categories under the jurisdiction of Western's Board. University benefits provided to employees by Board policy are separate from those employee benefits determined by the State of Illinois. The Board also adopted a change in bylaws regarding the accumulation of additional sick leave by administrative professionals for retirement service credit.

A collective bargaining agreement with the technical unit of the University Professionals of Illinois was approved. The collective bargaining unit represents 44 employees in various technical positions. The contract maintains the current salary ranges and provides for a reopener in the event funding becomes available or another employee group receives an increase.

A contract for the purchase of furniture for student rooms in residence halls was approved at a cost not to exceed $872,000 from R.T. London-Norse, Grand Rapids, MI. The purchase, to be made over two fiscal years, will replace three-drawer chests, bookcases, desks, lofting beds and organizers in 410 rooms in Henninger Hall, 590 units in Bayliss Hall and the new residence hall.

The next scheduled meeting of the Western Board of Trustees will be Saturday, June 14 at the WIU-Quad Cities campus in Moline. A conference call meeting on tuition and budget issues may be held in April at a date to be determined.

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Campus Connection is produced by the Office of University Relations at Western Illinois University. It is distributed each Friday when the University is in session and approximately four times during the summer.

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