Thank you, Trustee Mirro.
I will begin by introducing our tuition recommendations for the next biennium, then Vice President Sejdinaj will present them in more detail.
The value of Indiana University to students and the state
As the State of Indiana’s flagship public university, Indiana University has, for 200 years, been an integral partner with the state in ensuring that a first-rate, affordable, and accessible education is available to Indiana’s best students—an education that equips them to realize their greatest hopes and aspirations and to participate fully as citizens of Indiana, the nation, and the world. The recommendations we present this afternoon will help enable us to continue doing this.
More than ever before, earning a college degree is a necessity in today’s global economy. Growing numbers of jobs require a college education, and, as multiple studies show, a quality education leads to quality jobs with higher earnings and to an educated and informed citizenry.
Today, IU continues to be the major college destination of choice for Hoosier students seeking such an education. IU admits nearly 80 percent of state residents who apply.
IU is also graduating record numbers of students. In May of this year, IU awarded a record of 21,500 degrees across the state. Indiana residents comprised seventy percent of the graduating class.
In addition, more IU students are graduating within four years. IU Bloomington leads all public four-year residential campuses in the state in on-time graduation rates.
These graduates reflect the degree to which IU provides the educational foundation for much of the state’s workforce and for many of its professional leaders. More than 325,000 IU alumni live in the state, where they make vitally important contributions to Hoosier communities and to the state’s local and regional economies.
An affordable world-class education
Of course, doing all that we can to ensure that an IU education is as affordable as possible is among our paramount concerns. In recent years, we have kept tuition increases to historically low levels. The net cost of attendance at IU has declined over each of the last three years, and IU’s net cost remains very low compared to peer institutions.
Most IU students do not pay full tuition. About 75 percent of IU students receive some form of federal, state, institutional, or private financial assistance. In 2017-2018, IU disbursed more than $1.2 billion in total financial aid, and provided undergraduate students with $200 million in institutional gift aid. Since 2007, IU financial assistance for resident undergraduate students has increased by 227 percent, serving as further proof of IU’s commitment to ensuring that an IU education remains accessible to Hoosier students from low income backgrounds.
For some students, taking on debt is the only way to achieve their dream of a college education. IU is a national leader in financial literacy programs aimed at helping students keep their debt load to a minimum and to better understand the implications of borrowing. Over a recent six-year period, annual loan borrowing by IU students dropped by more than $126 million, or nearly 20 percent. For Indiana undergraduates, borrowing fell by more than $101 million, or 31 percent.
IU continues to take measures to reduce costs, to become more efficient, and to ensure that we are using our state funds and tuition revenues as wisely as possible. Across the entire university, we have reduced expenditures and implemented reforms aimed at cost containment and avoidance. Greater efficiency in how we use our resources must always be a central consideration in all that we do.
Investments in student success
IU has also redoubled its efforts to ensure that students succeed in their academic pursuits and to ensure that the degrees they earn lead to rewarding and satisfying careers.
We have recently implemented improved academic and career advising programs, accessible information systems, and career connection programs. These programs and systems—and other tools—help IU to increase graduation rates and to reduce the time to degree completion.
IU has also launched our enormously successful IU Online program, which is now in its eighth year and is serving more Hoosier students than ever before. IU Online includes more than 125 online programs—a number of which are highly-ranked nationally—and more than 2,200 online courses. Around a third of all IU students now take at least one online course. IU Online is true extension of IU's faculty and curriculum. Because it offers students more flexibility, it contributes to the increases we have seen in four-year degree completion rates and the increases in the number of students taking at least 15 credits a semester.
IU also continuously reviews the degrees and programs that it offers to ensure they meet the needs of Indiana’s economy and the demands of students. Over the last decade, we have, by restructuring, merging, or eliminating schools and programs, established ten new schools, all of which focus on some contemporary area of major importance to the state of Indiana and to society more broadly—or to some contemporary area in demand by our students. Among the new programs these schools house are IU’s new J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program and its new program in intelligent systems engineering.
In constructing IU’s budget and in setting tuition, our main goal has always been finding the best way to balance the financial needs of students and their families against the need to both preserve the university’s infrastructure and to maintain the affordability and accessibility that is expected of the state’s flagship university. This will always be our goal.
As we have consistently done in the past, in the process of developing our budget for the coming biennium, we considered every option that would allow us to make tuition recommendations that will ensure that IU will continue to be an affordable, world-class institution.
For each of the next two academic years, we are recommending a proposed tuition and fee increase of 2.5 percent for resident undergraduate students on all IU campuses.
Under this proposal, tuition and mandatory fees at IU Bloomington and IUPUI would increase by $267 and $237, respectively. On IU’s regional campuses—IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast—tuition and fees would increase by $183.
Even with this modest increase, IU’s tuition rates would remain below the national average for four-year public institutions.
This recommendation for a modest tuition and fee increase reinforces IU’s steadfast commitment to student affordability while allowing us at the same time to advance a positive agenda for IU’s future that is consistent with the needs of the state.
All of us at Indiana University very much appreciate the strong support we received from the General Assembly, Governor Holcomb, and the Commission for Higher Education in the recently concluded legislative session.
And, as always, we are also grateful for the ongoing support of alumni and friends of IU, whose extraordinary generosity has made possible much of the additional financial aid we have been able to give to our students over the past several years.
I also want to commend the members of IU’s staff who have worked diligently and unceasingly to find and implement operational efficiencies that have allowed us to continue to control our costs.
In the coming years, all of us at Indiana University are committed to working closely with these and other partners to preserve and strengthen high-quality higher education as an asset that can efficiently serve our state and its students for many decades and centuries to come.
Now let me turn the floor over to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer John Sejdinaj to say a few additional words about our tuition recommendations.