Supporting our mission: Indiana's new biennial budget

Dear Friend of Indiana University:

As we near the close of the academic year at IU, our Indiana General Assembly has wrapped up another legislative session. As we are in an odd-numbered year, this was a budget session during which our legislators completed the biennial state budget making appropriations for the next two academic years.

IU fared very well under this budget, and I would like to share some of those details with you. Firstly, I want to thank State Representative Tim Brown, State Senator Luke Kenley, Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and Governor Eric Holcomb for their successful stewardship of this complex and difficult budget process; and I want to express our appreciation to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and Commissioner Teresa Lubbers for their continued support of public higher education institutions throughout this process. We are fortunate to have so many leaders in Indiana’s government committed to supporting our mission to provide a world-class education that prepares Hoosiers for productive careers and engaged citizenship while keeping the cost of college affordable for our students.

While Indiana’s public universities as a whole saw an increase in state funding in this budget, IU saw one of the biggest increases: Total new state funding for higher education operations across Indiana institutions will increase over FY 2017 levels by 1.25 percent in FY 2018 and 2.5 percent in FY 2019; but at IU, the increases will be 1.8 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively. To review this funding from another perspective, IU will receive about $20.6 million in new operating appropriations of the $37 million in total increased state funding for all of the public institutions. This is largely due to the fact that operating appropriations are subject to a performance funding formula, and I am extremely pleased to report that our campuses performed very well on those metrics. 

A small part of our increase in operating funding is also due to legislators appropriating the resources we need to make our newly renamed Indiana University Fort Wayne health sciences programs a success. In addition to a regular $4.85 million operating appropriation beginning in FY2019, the General Assembly also funded our request for $2.85 million in startup funding for the purchase of new scientific equipment and other start-up costs. This was one of the last significant hurdles to clear before our agreement with Purdue University on the Fort Wayne campus takes effect later this year, and we are looking forward to beginning work on developing these much-needed programs in that region of the state.

Outside of general operating expenditures, we are also very pleased that IU saw an increase in the amount of dual credit funding we will receive in this biennium due to greater number of credit hours taught. This directly reflects both the performance of our Advance College Project in conjunction with IU campuses and the commitment of our Statehouse leaders to invest in Hoosier students. As more students earn dual credit in high school, it gives them a strong foundation for achievement in college, helps ensure they complete their degrees on time and ultimately helps keep the cost of a four-year degree affordable.

Finally, we were extremely pleased to receive funding for a number of capital projects in this budget. This includes $78.5 million in bonding authority for Phase III of the Old Crescent Renovation Plan in Bloomington, our top capital project priority as we prepare to celebrate IU’s bicentennial. This will provide much-needed funding for a long overdue renovation of Ballantine Hall and of the Geology Building on the IU Bloomington campus. Also included were $9.75 million for deferred maintenance projects at our regional campuses; $26.3 million for renovation and reconstruction (R&R) funding, which is vital for ensuring that our facilities on all campuses continue to be up to date and well-maintained; and $3 million for a Sports Development Plan at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis that will allow us to continue to work with the community to bring nationally significant athletic events to IUPUI. While not all of our capital requests were met, given the budgetary constraints it faced, we feel the General Assembly was very generous in supporting our efforts to enhance our academic infrastructure and environment for teaching and learning.

Following passage of the budget bill by both chambers of the legislature, Governor Holcomb signed it into law last week. Again, thanks to the work of the General Assembly in this budget, we look forward to continuing to ensure the excellence, affordability and accessibility of an IU education and engage in efforts that improve the lives of Hoosiers all across our state. 

The process that was involved in gaining approval for IU’s state budget request was a long, complex and arduous one. It started about a year ago with the preparation of our initial request, which was approved by the IU Board of Trustees and then presented to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The commission made its recommendations to the legislature on the request, which was then presented to various legislative committees over the following months into March. This process involved numerous meetings with legislators and the legislative leadership, legislative fiscal analysts and many other people involved in supporting our request.

Many members of the administration of the university were extensively involved in this process from the outset. But I want to give special thanks to Vice President for Government Relations Mike Sample and his superb state relations team of Jeff Linder, John Grew, Trevor Foughty and Becca Polcz. Thanks are also due to Vice Presidents Tom Morrison, Bill Stephan, John Sejdinaj, Jackie Simmons, Jay Hess, Fred Cate and Executive Vice President John Applegate, and many, many people on their staffs.

And more generally, the strong support we continue to receive from our state government leaders is also testament to the dedication, hard work and Hoosier spirit of the whole IU community, alumni, friends and supporters, who, collectively, are making lasting contributions to building a more prosperous Indiana—and an even greater Indiana—as we enter our third century.

With thanks as always,

Michael A. McRobbie
President, Indiana University

P.S.— And for some more possible good budgetary news, it appears the House and Senate in the Congress as well as the administration have reached agreement on a spending bill for the rest of this financial year that contains none of the major cuts we were concerned about. It will be voted on this week, and I expect to be reporting on it in my next update, which will be the last for this academic year.

If you would like more details about our recent activities and future plans, I encourage you to visit president.iu.edu.