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WIU revises Cost Guarantee Program

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University created its Cost Guarantee Program in 1999. It ensured that undergraduate students paid the same rate for tuition, fees, room and board, and their meal plan for four years of continuous enrollment.

The tuition guarantee will remain in place. But the university is now dropping the other guarantees for new students starting in Fall 2023.

Current undergraduate students will remain grandfathered into the current plan.

Board of Trustees (BoT) member Greg Aguilar said this will provide Western with more financial flexibility.

“From a business perspective, it’s tough to guarantee four years of that same price,” he said.


“I don’t know why I keep thinking about chicken wings. Maybe because I was watching ‘Tommy Boy.’ But just seeing how much everything increases in price. I would love to be paying what I was paying four years ago for my groceries. Now from a business perspective, to try to position ourselves to where we’re going to guarantee that the price of chicken wings is going to stay the same for four years is just not a smart business practice.”

Trustee Erik Dolieslager said it’s important for Western to remain “financially nimble.”

Shannon Sutton, WIU Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration, said her office met with various groups and administrators before making the proposal.

Cody Cornell, who is the student representative on the BoT, said he supported the change from a business perspective. But he hopes the board will be careful when it comes time to approve an increase in the fees.

“Knowing we have students who have to live in the dorms their first two years … they get worried about having to pay if it’s an increase for the (second) year,” he said.

The BoT approved the change unanimously.

The board will set tuition rates and the other costs for next fall’s incoming students when it meets again in March.

Background on the Cost Guarantee

WIU’s Cost Guarantee Program was the first such program in Illinois. For many years, Western was the only university in the state to make such an offer.

The state later created the Illinois Tuition Guarantee program based on Western’s model.

But WIU remained the only university in the state that locked in the costs beyond tuition.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Copyright 2022 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”
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