Panel backs caps on Indiana college tuition hikes

Indiana's higher education commission on Friday approved recommendations that the state's public universities keep their tuition increases under caps of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in each of the next two years.

The universities aren't required to follow the recommendations on tuition for in-state students, but objections to hikes in recent years prompted legislators this spring to consider implementing a tuition freeze as part of the new state budget.

The Commission for Higher Education voted unanimously to approve the tuition caps during its meeting at the Indiana University Kokomo campus, spokesman Jason Bearce said.

The highest recommended tuition increases of 3.5 percent for in-state students are for the main campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University. The lowest caps of 2.5 percent are recommended for Indiana State University, Vincennes University and the regional campuses of Purdue and IU.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said he hoped college officials have been getting the message that families can't take another big increase.

"I strongly support the commission and its recommendations," Kenley said Thursday. "Universities should try to live with certain restraints in these economic times. And I hope they are not tempted to go beyond (the caps)."

Asked what he might do if they don't, Kenley replied, "That depends on how much the 'don't' is."

With the panel's adoption of the recommendations, the universities will begin to release their actual tuition increases.

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