Office for University Relations

Chicago News Bureau
Springfield Campus Relations
Urbana Public Affairs




108 Henry Admin. Bldg.
506 S. Wright St., MC-370
Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 333-6400
Fax: (217) 333-5733

414 Administrative Ofc. Bldg.
1737 W. Polk St., MC-971
Chicago, IL 60612
Tel: (312) 996-3772
Fax: (312) 996-1836

What is tuition?

Tuition is the cost that a student pays to take classes at a university.

What is guarenteed tuition?

The University of Illinois Act includes a four-year tuition guarantee to provide a high degree of certainty about tuition costs for undergraduate students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program.

This means that an undergraduate who enters the University as a freshman is charged the same per-credit tuition rate throughout her four years.

The Vice President of Academic Affrairs (VPAA) website has details of the tuition guarantee program.

Who decides how much tuition & fees will be?

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees sets the costs of tuition for each campus annually, based upon data such as instructional costs, state appropriations, institutional comparisons and more.

Note - This information is intended as a tutorial on tuition. This example uses rates listed for first-time undergraduate students entering the U of I in the fall 2008, guaranteed tuition cohort.

Consult with the campus registrar's office of the specific college for questions regarding a particular tuition/fees assessment. 

What is the total cost to attend?

The total cost of attendance is determined by many factors as described in this presentation. The example below is for an academic year (fall and spring semesters) at a guaranteed cohort rate from the Urbana campus.

Example Tuition Breakdown Graph

Why are costs not the same for everyone?

Several factors determine the exact rate for a particular student. The following information illustrates typical contributing factors and the impact that each has upon the total cost.

Typical contributing factors:

  • Campus, college and curriculum of enrollment
  • Credits taken each semester
  • Residency classification
  • Type of meal plan and housing situation

Tuition varies by discipline and residency

Residency classification

Illinois residents and non-residents do not pay the same tuition rate. The following example illustrates the impact of residency on the general academic year costs for the Urbana campus.

  • $9,242: Base rate tuition, Illinois resident
  • $23,026: Base rate tuition, Non-resident

Campus, college and curriculum

Students enrolled in certain high cost curricula (e.g., fine and applied arts) pay a fee due to additional program costs, such as support for instruction. Other students enroll in a high-demand, high-cost curricula (e.g., engineering or nursing) that provides a higher starting salary.

Examples follow that show the incremental impact of these additional costs on semester rates.

Additional tuition costs examples

Credits taken each semester

Another factor in tuition is the number of semester hours for which a student is registered. There are four credit ranges that affect tuition.

Below are examples of semester rate ranges for the Urbana campus for a general base rate tuition for a resident. These vary for those students in high-cost or high-demand curricula.

  • Credit Range I  (12+ credit hours)  $4,621
  • Credit Range II  (6-11 credit hours)  $3,081

What fees are assessed?

Each student pays mandatory fees that vary for each campus and are affected by credit range. Many fees were assessed by student vote. Below are examples of fees assessed on one or more campuses.

  • Service
  • General
  • Health insurance
  • Health service
  • Transportation
  • Krannert
  • Cultural programming
  • Legacy scholarship
  • CTA U Pass transportation
  • Cleaner energy technologies
  • Sustainable campus environment
  • Study abroad scholarship
  • Library and information technology
  • SEAL (Students for Equal Access to Learning)
  • SORF (Student Organization Resource Fee)
  • AFMFA (Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment)

Fees: Credits taken each semester

Fees are also impacted by the credits a student takes in a semester. The example below is a typical semester fee (including assessments for AFMFA and Library IT) for an Illinois resident at the Chicago campus:

  • Credit Range I (12+ hours)     $1,793
  • Credit Range II (6-11 hours)     1,541
  • Credit Range III (1-5 hours)      1,274

Room and board

On-campus housing costs for the academic year vary depending on choice of housing type and meal plan.

Below are typical examples of academic year costs for a student in an Urbana undergraduate hall with meal plans of 14 to 20 meals per week.

  • Single room and 14 meals      $9,384
  • Single room and 20 meals        $9,934
  • Double room (1 roommate) and 14 meals    $8,214
  • Double room (1 roommate) and 20 meals     $8,764

Books, supplies and Internet service

Students must purchase books and supplies. The books and supplies allowance calculated by each campus is based on full-time credit hour enrollment for the academic year.

Students in the Fine and Applied Arts curricula should estimate an additional cost of $500 for books and supplies.

  • Estimated books, supplies and Internet service   $1,200
  • Estimate for Fine and Applied Arts curricula         $1,700

Living and other expenses

Other expenses include allowances for transportation, clothing, recreation, living and miscellaneous expenses. These vary based on the specific lifestyle of a student. The estimated academic year allowances below are based on reasonable, but modest, costs as derived from surveys of various seqments of the student population.

  • Personal, closting, meals out   $2,040
  • Transportation for residents          470
  • Transportation for non-residents   800

Why do costs continue to increase?

Many factors contribute to tuition, differential and fee decisions.

  1. Inflation
  2. Change to state appropriations
  3. Energy costs
  4. Competitive compensation
  5. Aging infrastructure

How does the University help?

Financial aid of more than $950 million assisted U of I students in 2006-07.  Almost 170,000 awards were made to more than 57,500 students in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

The tuition costs are the "sticker price" and the real cost is derived after financial aid and tax credits and deductions. Gift aid includes:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Fellowships
  • Tuition and fee waivers

In fall 2006, the following chart illustrates the percentages of students on each campus who paid the full tuition and fees:

 Percentages by campus of students paying full-tuition and fees for Fall 2006: UIS-25%; UIC-34%; UIUC-41%

Approximately two-thirds of the undergraduate students at Springfield and seven-tenths of the undergraduate students at Chicago and Urbana received some form of aid in FY 2007.

What other options are available?

Students can also meet their costs through one or more of the following:

  • Loans
  • Employment

Students earned more than $170 million from university-related jobs in 2006-07.

Learn more

The information presented here is intended as a basic guide for understanding how tuition is estimated for each student. Data included in this presentation are provided as examples. For the most current information and figures or for questions about a specific situation, refer to the appropriate campus registrar site listed below or consult with the specific college.