Board of Trustees approves small tuition increase

March 3, 2015

The Harper College Board of Trustees has approved a $3.50 per credit hour tuition increase, following a Board policy adopted in 2012 to approve small yearly increases aimed at keeping tuition costs manageable and predictable for students. The 2.8 percent increase will cost a full-time student (15 credit hours) an additional $52.50 per semester.

The proposal received unanimous support by the Student Government Association, whose members told administrators they recognized Harper's increase is moderate compared to those at many peer institutions.

"We talked about it in depth and while any tuition increase weighs heavily on us, a $3.50 increase is necessary to maintain the high quality programming and activities that create the Harper experience for students," SGA President Joseph Haynes said.

The December 2014 annual Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U) rose by just 0.8 percent according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the second smallest annual increase in 54 years. Under the Board's policy, Trustees have the option of increasing tuition 2 percentage points above the inflation rate up to a 5 percent cap.

"Despite rising costs and cuts in state funding, the Board is committed to tuition increases that are manageable to students," said Diane Hill, Chair of the Board of Trustees. "It is critical that Harper continues to provide quality, affordable and accessible education to the people of our district."

Harper, like all Illinois community colleges, is experiencing decreasing support from the State, and support could be cut even further as lawmakers address the State's budget deficit estimated at $6.2 billion according to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB.)

Tuition will rise from $110.25 to $113.75 per credit hour beginning in the summer 2015 term. Fees will remain unchanged. Despite the increase, Harper's tuition is a third of the tuition charged by Northern Illinois University, a quarter of the tuition at the University of Illinois and a small fraction of the cost of the first two years at a private university.

Harper's tuition increase will be covered for students who are eligible for financial aid under the federal Pell Grant Program and the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP). Last year, about 5,300 Harper students received federal and state financial aid totaling $24.1 million. The Harper College Educational Foundation, the fundraising arm of the College, also distributed about $444,000 in scholarships, grants and awards. More than 300 students received scholarships last year.

"Harper is far and away the best deal in higher education in Illinois, and we want to do everything we can to make sure no student is turned away solely because of financial reasons," Dr. Ender said. "The College will continue to work to increase our pool of scholarship money, both public and private, to make sure Harper remains affordable for all who choose to attend."

Press contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159