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Error apparent? University of Illinois raises tuition

It’s official: It really was “presidential error.”

Last month, University of Illinois Interim President Stanley Ikenberry admitted he’d misspoken when he seemed to imply that tuition at the state’s flagship university could go up by nearly 20 percent. Ikenberry later admitted it was “presidential error” to make it sound like tuition could go that high. He’d intended to say that the best case scenario was an increase of 9.5 percent and and there was a possibility it could be double that.

On Thursday, university trustees approved an increase of 9.5 percent.

Students, prospective students and their families might feel tuition has gone up by far too much. But don’t expect the pain to end soon.

Jerome Stermer, Gov. Quinn’s chief of staff, said Thursday it’s going to take years to get the state budget back into reasonable shape. Presumably, measures that would have seemed drastic in the past will continue to be necessary until then.

“Working a state budget, particularly when you are in such a deep hole, is something you got to keep at every day,” Stermer said.

The state expects to finish the fiscal year with something like $6 billion in unpaid bills. That means the state will be trying to trim appropriations next year to free up money to make good on overdue payments. It doesn’t sound like a prescription for avoiding even more tuition increases.

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