NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Incoming students at Illinois State University (ISU) can expect to pay more to attend school this upcoming school year.

Friday, the college’s board approved in a 5-1 vote a 3.42% increase in total cost from the 2022 fiscal year. 

With the approval, the total cost of attendance for a full-time undergraduate student, including student health insurance, will now be $26,335 before financial aid is applied. 

“It’s never easy to do and I don’t want to speak for the entire board, but I believe everybody on this board is very cognizant of the cost of higher education,” said trustee Rocky Donahue.

ISU President Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy stated the increase was needed to help offset increases to campus operations, including electricity rate hikes while balancing student affordability. Kinzy said its the first costs hike in five years.

“The cost of many things, food as you know has gone up dramatically; chicken, eggs, milk all of those are far above the 4.5% we raised our fees,” Kinzy said.

Students enrolled prior to the increase will be locked into the tuition rates from FY2022 thanks to Illinois’ “Truth in Tuition” statute. Students will however see increased fees and costs for room and board as well.

Kinzy said a 5% increase in state funds helped alleviate the amount of increase to students.

“That’s (state funds) only 14% of our operating expenses so while it helps some, it certainly doesn’t offset a majority of our operating costs,” Kinzy said.

Kinzy said over the last ten years increases have been lower than other colleges keeping ISU affordable and top-quality.

“Put that with the fact that we get the lowest amount of funding on a per student basis in the state by 40%, we have certain constraints we have to work through without ever impacting the quality of our programs,” Kinzy said.

Board members also approved Friday morning to officially move forward in establishing the new College of Engineering.

The unanimous approval allows the university to begin recruiting and hiring college leadership, including the founding dean. 

In addition, the board approved the first phase of construction on the college of engineering’s new building. The first phase will cost $61 million and includes the acquisition of the John Green and Carter Harris Administration buildings. 

Once acquired, those buildings will be renovated to fit the needs of engineering classrooms and labs. Those buildings currently house university housing services, facilities services, and events management. 

Acquisition and renovation of replacement facilities for those departments are also included in the first phase.