Rocio Carbral is a junior majoring in health administration at Governors State University in University Park.
But the 26-year-old single mother said she fears the school’s plan to raise tuition by 15 percent will strain her financially.
“I am a single mother, so it’s a burden,” she said Tuesday. “It is going to push me back a little bit, but I’m going to have to work around it, I guess.”
On Monday, Governors State officials said they will to eliminate 22 degree programs and hike tuition 15 percent in the fall to cope with the state’s budget standoff that has starved public universities and institutions of funding for the past two fiscal years. In year one, state appropriations for Governors State were slashed 70 percent, officials said. Last year, school officials said they received half of the funding it normally counts on from the state.
Current students in to-be eliminated programs, including some in the undergraduate majors of communications, psychology and criminal justice, will be able to finish their degree, officials said.
The cost per credit hour for undergraduate students is now $272 or $8,160 for the full year. In the fall, the cost will increase to $313, or $9,390 for the year.
Governors State has not raised tuition in two years and is still one of the most affordable schools in the Chicagoland area and Illinois, officials said. About 5,600 were enrolled at the University Park school last fall. The board unanimously approved the tuition raise and program cuts, officials said.
Governors State President Elaine Maimon said more cuts are possible if the budget impasse is not resolved soon. Planning the 2018 fiscal year, which Maimon said has already begun, is difficult because school officials don’t know how much money the state will hand out.
It’s like gazing into a crystal ball, she said.
“We’re really good managers at Governors State, but we’re not magicians,” she said from a car on route to Springfield. “We also plan — we’re not a tasty freeze business.”
Maimon and the heads of other Illinois public universities were invited to testify Tuesday about the budget squeeze before the state Senate committee on higher education, she said.
On Monday night, Maimon said she talked with students about the announcement. Students were constructive and understood the difficult situation the budget impasse has created for the college, she said. During the talk, she assured students that the school will cover the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants the state normally provides to its neediest students, she said.
“We put students first at Governors State,” she said.
Student Tarrell Littles raised his eyebrows Tuesday after learning about the planned tuition hike — acknowledging he hadn’t heard about it yet.
“Wow,” he said. “So, that’s about $1,000 extra?”
He said he doesn’t think it will be a problem for him. He’s an athlete on scholarship and said his program was not at risk.
Mark Tyler, a freshman and student ambassador who gives tours of the school, said he’ll have to start mentioning the tuition increase to prospective students next week.
Tiffany Kolb, a senior criminal justice major, said even with the hike, Governors State is more affordable than many other Illinois schools.
“I left [Southern Illinois University] because it was so much more expensive,” she said. “A year there is like a year-and-a-half here, and commuting has saved a lot on room and board.”
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March 7, 2017 at 12:48PM