University of Illinois has 17,000 reasons to love out-of-state students

By Benjamin Yount
Illinois Watchdog

URBANA, Ill. — The Illinois portion of the University of Illinois is shrinking.

The state’s flagship public university is seeing a relatively small class of new students who actually come from the state of Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune noted that 73 percent of the class of 2017 is from inside the state. The U of I long has had a goal to have three-quarters of its students come from Illinois high schools.

A decade ago, Illinois students made up 90 percent of the university’s classes.

The U of I’s admissions director, Stacey Kostell, told the Tribune that the lower in-state numbers were “not intentional.”

But as the school sees fewer local students, foreign-born and out-of-state students have flocked to the school.

Nearly 16 percent of the University of Illinois’ freshman class is from China.

While it is good to have a good cross-section in our universities … we still need to be concerned about the average Illinoisan being able to afford the U of I,” state Rep. Mike Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, said.

It costs an Illinois student about $35,000 each year for tuition, room and board, fees and books at the U of I.

The university charges foreign students $52,000 for the same tuition, room and board, books and fees.

And that — the $17,000 difference — is incentive to accept more foreign students.

If you think that the average Chinese student is paying for their tuition out of their pockets, you’re mistaken,” Tryon said. “They’re coming in with scholarships from a whole host of places.”

Kostel acknowledged that the school accepted more foreign students, but downplayed any notion that the U of I is going to become the “U of I don’t know where you came from.”

We will be more cautious next year when we look at admitting international students,” Kostel told the Tribune.

Tryon, meanwhile, is trying to take away the university’s power to raise tuition on its own.

All of our universities have been raising tuition as they say ‘The state hasn’t been giving us more money,’” but Tyron countered that the state is spending billions on universities, but the money goes to pensions and not into the classrooms.

Contact Benjamin Yount at and find him on Twitter @BenYount.

Posted Sept. 13, 2013

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