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IU, Ivy Tech propose tuition increases below 5 percent

By Andy Graham
331-4215 |

July 6, 2009

Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College both announced proposed tuition increases today that adhere to the Indiana Commission on Higher Education’s recommendation of staying below a maximum of 5 percent.

IU president Michael McRobbie is recommending in-state undergraduate tuition and fee increases of 4.6 percent this year and 4.8 percent next year at IU Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

But McRobbie, in a press release issued this afternoon, said he hoped the tuition increases would be more than offset by increases in financial aid grants. He estimated the out-of-pocket costs for Hoosier families sending a student to IU would actually decrease by an average of $177 annually.

Ivy Tech president Thomas Snyder, in an e-mail to staffers, reported that the in-state per credit hour fee would increase from $95 this past year to $99.65 for 2009-10, a 4.89 percent increase, followed by a 4.91 percent increase to $104.55 for 2010-11.

“They’re talking 4.9 percent over two years and, for us, that’s less than $5 per credit hour, or $14 per class,” Ivy Tech-Bloomington chancellor John Whikehart said. “So the bottom line for us is that 4.9 percent doesn’t involve a huge amount out-of-pocket.”

IU vice president and chief financial officer Neil Theobald noted the university’s on-going Matching the Promise capital campaign has accumulated $220 million, from almost 50,000 separate gifts, for undergraduate scholarships to help mitigate the tuition increases.

“We’re endowing that capital campaign money, so it will be available forever,” Theobald said. “With some 50,000 donors, that’s amazingly broad support, and it makes a difference in defraying tuition increases. And IU itself has increased its tuition support (funding that automatically rewards achievement at the high school level by students admitted to IU).

“So the average tuition payment, the net cost after the grants accrue, will go down 15 percent for undergraduate Hoosiers. Our feeling, our goal, is to have it so that for anyone qualified to come here, money shouldn’t be the issue.”

Out-of-state IU students will face a higher tuition increase in the current proposals, averaging 5.6 percent each of the next two years. There are also differentiated rate increases, some higher than the overall average, for specific IU schools and programs such as business, music, medicine and nursing.

At IU’s five regional campuses, in-state undergraduate tuition would go up 4.4 and 4.6 percent respectively in the next two years. Theobald said those numbers were also in keeping with the state commission’s recommendations.

“We waited until we received their recommendation last Thursday (before setting our numbers),” Theobald said. “That wasn’t just a numerical recommendation, either. There were six specific recommendations, addressing such things as setting tuition at different rates based upon the economic context of regional campuses.

“We tried as carefully as possible to follow all the recommendations and I believe we have met all six.”

While IU has tried to meet state recommendations, percentages of state support for higher education continues to wane. This past year, about 22 percent of IU’s $2.6 billion budget came from state support and that is expected to drop below 21 percent in the next university budget computation. By contrast, for the 1987-88 academic year, 43 percent of IU’s operating budget came from state funding.

“We have about a $30 million cut in our state appropriation for next two years, university-wide, and Bloomington’s cut is about $12 million,” Theobald said. “That cut has been back-filled with federal stimulus money for this budget cycle but, obviously, it could get very challenging after that.”

IU and Ivy Tech will both conduct required public hearings for the tuition proposals July 16, and the proposals also require approval from the schools’ boards of trustees. The IU hearing is set for 10 a.m. in Room 405 of the IUPUI Campus Center at 420 University Blvd., Indianapolis. Ivy Tech’s is at 8 a.m. in the fourth floor auditorium of Ivy Tech’s North Meridian Center, 50 W. Fall Creek Parkway, Indianapolis. Written comments can also be submitted to Ivy Tech treasurer Bob Holmes at