Ivy Tech to ask state lawmakers for more cash

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The Ivy Tech Community College trustees have passed a resolution telling the college’s leaders to ask the Indiana General Assembly and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for additional funding.

The money would allow the college to purchase new equipment – including scientific, automotive, robotics, nursing and health sciences, computing, and technology information equipment – and add full-time faculty and academic advisors.

Although Ivy Tech personnel said the school has a total of $83.1 million in deferred spending – a number established by calculating the amount of projects and spending the college can’t afford to undertake – it has not yet released an exact amount of funds it will request from the state.

“This (resolution) is procedural as a part of our request,” said Jeff Fanter, senior vice president for student experience, communications and marketing. “At this time in the process, we do not have an actual number that is a part of that request. That will come later in the process.”

In recent years, Ivy Tech has implemented a series of budget cuts and cost-saving procedures, which included eliminating staff and raising the price of admission. The college remains the lowest funded institution in the state in terms of funding per student, at just more than $1,200 per student.

According to 2012 statistics, Ivy Tech serves the largest population of secondary students in the state – enrolling nearly 5,000 more recent high school graduates than the second highest state university.

“It is clear that Ivy Tech Community College is the institution of higher education that will impact the state’s attainment levels the most over the next decade and is the main driver as Indiana strives to reach the big-goal attainment levels,” Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder said in a prepared statement.

Currently, Ivy Tech maintains a ratio of one academic advisor to every 1,000 students and plans to add 200 advisors to its staff if more funding is made available. The college is also seeking to improve its ratio of full-time to part-time faculty – a number that is now at 23 full-timers for every 77 part-time staff members. The ratio could improve to a 50/50 split with additional funds.

Ivy Tech is also the statewide leader in student income in their first year after graduation – out-earning Purdue University first-year grads by more than $2,000. The income earned by Ivy Tech graduates and their impact on the state’s economy is something Indiana lawmakers and Higher Education Commission members should consider when looking at the college’s funding request, Snyder said.

“Ivy Tech continues to provide the greatest return on investment amongst institutions of higher education…” Snyder said.

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