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dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">The University of Illinois has a new program to help students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to go to the state’s flagship public college.
The median income in Illinois is $61,000. Tuition at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is $15,058 a year, with fees increasing that amount to as much as $24,000. Room, board, books and supplies come with their own costs.
Many of the state’s students don’t apply “because they just assume it costs too much,” said Andy Borst, director of undergraduate admissions for the university.
A new program beginning with this month’s entering class aims to change that. Illinois Commitment guarantees that any student who is a legal resident of Illinois, meets the school’s criteria and is admitted, is younger than 24 and whose family makes below the median income will have free tuition and fees.
The program applies to freshmen and transfer students, who will have to pay their own room and board.
“We're seeing good response from this program in terms of applications,” Borst said. “We just have to wait to see what enrollment looks like for a couple more weeks.”
He said the university had a record number of freshmen applications, and maybe also a record number of transfer applications, although the figures haven’t been finalized. Later on in the year, the university will gauge how many students will attend through Illinois Commitment.
“We wanted to make sure that we're getting in front of things so that we're keeping more students in the state,” Borst said, adding that UI-UC particularly hopes that more students from downstate see its campus as a viable option.
“We're doing our part to educate the best and brightest in the state,” he said, “And I think that that's probably what we're expecting to have for this fall, as we certainly got our share of the best and brightest students.”
Borst added that families above the median $61,000 threshold still qualify for substantial student aid, just not the entire free program.