The major rub at that time was the out-of-state tuition cost--about $10,000 higher than for Illinois residents. A pretty serious hurdle for someone not eligible for any financial aid.
I'm happy to report, that according to a story aired on NPR this morning, thanks to an ever more competitive market, the out-of-state tuition differential has been eliminated. Out-of-state students at SIU will now pay the same tuition costs as those in-state: about $5,700 per semester.
This means a whole new secondary education option for those in Paducah whose nearest alternative for a bachelor's has been Murray State University, about 48 miles down the road. While Murray does offer a limited number of degrees at their satellite campus in Paducah, mostly in business and education, I suspect this will force even more competition locally for the education dollar. Carbondale is only about 20 minutes farther away than Murray. While Murray has plans for a substantial campus in Paducah, that is still a ways away.
Elimination of out-of-state tuition is a question with which many universities across the country are currently struggling. Read the full NPR story here.