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Purdue board hikes student tuition, adds fee

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Purdue University students will begin paying either $400 or $1,000 more in tuition and fees next school year, depending on whether they are in-state or out-of-state.

The university system's Board of Trustees approved a 3.5-percent tuition hike Friday along with a $91 fee to cover the renovations to a student service center.

State Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, said he was still reviewing the tuition hike and planned to invite university officials statewide to a public hearing this summer to explain their increases.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education signed off on Purdue's tuition hikes Friday. The commission recommended earlier this month that state universities limit tuition hikes to 3.5 percent.

"The board members were convinced that this tuition and fee proposal was as low as we could go and maintain the quality of a Purdue degree," Keith Krach, chairman of Purdue's Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

Indiana University is expected to vote on tuition hikes Tuesday. Ivy Tech Community College is freezing tuition for Indiana National Guard members, but will hold a public hearing on tuition hikes for its other students.

Lawmakers, including Espich, attempted to curb tuition hikes during the state legislative session that ended last month, but settled instead on the commission establishing recommended limits.

While most other government agencies and employees have suffered through budget cuts during the recession, the state's university system has been largely held harmless while still being allowed to raise tuition, Espich said.

"Everybody else is still holding their breath," he said.

Under the board-approved plan, tuition for in-state and out-of-state students attending Purdue will jump 3.5 percent in the 2011-2012 school year and again the next school year. Students also will pay a new "fitness and wellness fee" of $91 in the '11-'12 school year and $182 the next year to pay for renovations to Purdue's Student Fitness and Wellness Center.

The trustees also approved a new, systemwide, $1.16 billion operating budget that includes a 1.5 percent merit-based salary increase for workers at its main campus.

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