Tuition likely to go up at Indiana colleges-WEB ONLY

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Students at Indiana’s two largest college systems may soon know how much they have to pay for tuition next year, and it looks like they’ll be digging deeper into their wallets.

Under proposals announced yesterday, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie recommended in-state tuition hikes of 4.6 percent this year and 4.8 percent next year at the university’s main Bloomington campus and at IUPUI. Tuition at IU’s regional campuses could go up 4.4 this year and 4.6 percent next year.

Ivy Tech Community College is proposing tuition increases of about 4.9 percent in each of the next two years at its 23 campuses around the state.

Tuition rates are typically set in May, but colleges and universities had to wait until lawmakers passed a new, two-year state budget June 30 – the last day of the fiscal year – to know how much money they would get from the state. The budget cut higher education operating costs, but federal stimulus money will be used to replace lost revenue, essentially keeping funding at previous levels.

The rate increases would affect thousands of students. More than 120,000 students took classes at Ivy Tech during the 2007-2008 school year. IU recorded nearly 119,000 students, while Purdue University, which has suggested raising tuition by 5 percent, ranked third with an enrollment of about 76,000.

The state Commission for Higher Education had previously recommended that Indiana University increase tuition no more than 5 percent in each of the next two years. Under McRobbie’s proposal, most in-state undergraduate students at the Bloomington campus would pay an extra $382 for 2009-10, or a total of about $8,600 for the academic year.

IU said it had to raise tuition to keep up with operating expenses and to cover the rising costs of repairs, insurance and energy. The school is also mandating spending restraints, McRobbie said, including restrictions on travel and administrative hires.

McRobbie said he hopes increased financial aid for students can allow the school to see declines in the average out-of-pocket cost for tuition and fees. The new state budget increases state financial aid by 6.5 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the second.

“We expect that trend to continue, even with the modest tuition increases we are recommending to our trustees,” McRobbie said.

If Ivy Tech’s trustees approve the proposed tuition increase at the fast-growing community college, full-time students taking 15 credit hours a semester would pay about $3,100 a year in tuition, instead of the previous rate of about $2,900 a year. The Commission for Higher Education had recommended that tuition at Ivy Tech should rise no more than 4 percent.

Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder noted that Ivy Tech exceeded the group’s suggestion by less than one percentage point. He said that the proposed increase would amount to an extra $4.65 per credit hour for students.

“We look at the overall cost,” Snyder said. “Even with our increase of $4.65, we’ll still be much less expensive than any other public or private school.”

Both IU and Ivy Tech have scheduled public hearings on the proposed increases July 16, and school trustees will vote on final tuition rates after that. Purdue has a hearing scheduled for July 13.

A 2006 report card from the National Center For Public Policy and Higher Education gave Indiana the grade of F for college affordability.

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