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Is 'Truth In Tuition' A False Promise To Illinois Students?

Carl Nelson

llinois’ truth-in-tuition law was designed to keep college affordable. But it might be having the opposite effect.

Credit Illinois Board of Higher Education

  Since 2003, Illinois parents have banked on the law that guarantees their kids’ tuition rate  will remain at the same rate for at least four years. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says that allows families to plan their finances, making the state’s public universities an attractive option. But think about it:

“If you’re an institution, and you know when you set tuition you’re locked in for four years, and you don’t know what the next four years will bring — you don’t even know if it’s going to bring you a budget — what would be more likely— that you would try to set it a little bit on the high end, to protect yourself? Or make it the lowest possible tuition you could make.”

The board meets Tuesday to tackle the topic of college affordability. Applegate says he expects a lively debate. The board will also discuss the state’s complicated rules for buying goods and services at the meeting.