Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the "truth in tuition" bill into law last July, which will freeze tuition rates for students at state universities throughout their four years.
The law, which takes effect with the class starting in summer 2004, will allow upperclassmen to be exempt from tuition hikes during four years, when they will pay the same rate as they did when they entered as freshmen.
While some individual institutions across the country have adopted this policy, Illinois is the first state to implement it on its public universities. The law only applies to in-state students, although the university system may extend the policy to out-of-state students as well. The students must be continuously enrolled for four years to be eligible for the tuition freeze. Those enrolled in five-year programs are also eligible for all five years.
The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.