Lamont Kimberlin, Harbinger
Wednesday, May 20, 2015—This summer will begin a new semester for students at Illinois Central College, and with it will come a few modifications to the East Peoria, North, Downtown, and Pekin campuses.
After several meetings during the past few months, the college’s board of trustees has implemented some changes,the first being the ICC Smoke-Free/Tobacco Free campus policy, and second, an increase in tuition.
Due to the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act, the administration of the college has put a new smoking policy into effect. Effective on July 1, students will no longer be permitted to smoke or use tobacco products while on any property of Illinois Central College.
As defined by the policy, “smoke” or “smoking” is the carrying, using, burning, inhaling, or exhaling of any kind of tobacco product. The policy includes the use of cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco, as well as e-cigarettes and vaporizers.
“Students will see different signage coming about here soon to help them understand,” Bruce Budde, executive vice president for administration and finance at Illinois Central College, said. “We will be trying to do warnings, and those types of things, to help people get on the right page.”
The college will be introducing smoking cessation type programs as well as have information made available to students wishing to be more proactive.
“We will continue to try to do outreach programs for the students and give them opportunities, if they are really wanting to quit,” Budde said. “Our objective for these facilities is we want to create an environment that our students can come to free of distraction, and that they can come here to be successful in what they’re coming here to do.
Along with the college’s new smoke free and tobacco free campus policy, students should anticipate an increase in the costs for tuition.
Prior to this adjustment in tuition, students were paying $125 per credit hour each semester; however, with the increased rate students can expect to pay $135 per credit hour starting with the fall semester.
During their February meeting, the board of trustees discussed the administration’s recommendation of an increase in tuition. In March, the board made the decision to raise tuition costs due to several factors relating to enrollment decline and decreased state funding.
Most of the college’s funding comes from the state, tuition and property tax. Each division of support was meant to provide one-third of the college’s revenue, but state support has steadily diminished since 2000. Now, the college only receives eight or nine percent of their funds from the state.
Budde stated that in 2009, the college reached its peak enrollment at over 250,000 credit hours; since then there has been a steady decline to about 190,000 credit hours. As a result, the college receives less reimbursement from the state.
Though tuition fees will be increased, they are not expected to exceed the amount of financial assistance students receive. According to Budde, compared with the tuition costs of other community colleges in the area, Illinois Central College has relatively low tuition rates. Therefore, financial aid generally covers all tuition expenses for students.
“Anytime we make the decision on tuition, we are very aware of the impact on our students. We try to manage that to the extent that we can. We try to control our expenses and cost, but the one thing we don’t want to do is compromise quality. We need quality education and we need very qualified professors and faculty. The quality of facilities and quality of support services are hugely important and they are worth paying some for in our tuition,” Budde said.
The college’s board of trustees meets the third Thursday of every month and meetings are open for students and the general public to attend. A schedule of upcoming board meetings and an agenda can be found online at the college’s website at icc.edu/about-icc/board-trustees.