Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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
The ultimate aim of Indiana University’s teaching and learning mission is to ensure the success of its students. Toward this end, we must ensure that an IU education is not only excellent, but also accessible and affordable to every citizen in the state, no matter where they come from, no matter what their background, and no matter who they are. IU has done this with great success in recent years, and the recommendations we present this afternoon will help enable us to continue to do so.
More than ever before, earning a college degree is a necessity in today’s global economy, and IU continues to be the major college destination of choice for Hoosier students. IU educates more Indiana residents, by far, than any other college or university in the state. More than 308,000 IU degrees have been awarded over the 14 years I have served as president, with more than 212,000 of these being earned by Indiana residents.
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 375,000 IU alumni live in the state, where they make vitally important contributions to Hoosier communities and to the state’s local and regional economies.
IU is also graduating record numbers of students. During the current academic year, IU has granted a record of more than 24,200 degrees, surpassing the previous record of just under 24,000 in 2018-19.
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.
An affordable world-class education
In recent years, we have kept an IU education affordable with tuition increases at historically low levels. At IU Bloomington, the average annual tuition increase over the last three budget biennia has been only 1.3 percent. And it is important to stress that this was below the average rate of inflation during that period. Net in-state tuition at IU Bloomington is the second lowest in the Big 10. IUPUI and the regional campuses also remain highly affordable compared to their peers. The implementation of banded, or flat-rate, tuition has enabled students to take all of the credits they need for on-time graduation at the same, predictable cost, contributing to increases in four-year graduation rates and student loan debt reduction.
Most IU students do not pay full tuition. Sixty-six percent of IU students—two thirds—received gift aid in 2019-20 from federal, state, institutional, or private sources, up from 62 percent six years prior.
Since 2007, IU gift aid for resident undergraduate students has increased by a remarkable 175 percent, serving as further proof of IU’s commitment to ensuring that an IU education remains accessible to Hoosier students from low-income backgrounds.
IU has also pioneered path-breaking award-winning student financial literacy programs. These have become national models and, in conjunction with our focus on administering financial aid, have resulted in major savings to students. Since the founding in 2011 of IU’s Office of Financial Wellness and Education, student loan borrowing at IU has decreased by $140.6 million, or 21.6 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. Over the last three biennia, over $100 million in expense reductions have been identified—and during the pandemic over another $100 million as well, as Vice President Sejdinaj will describe in his remarks.
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.
IU provides extensive services in all aspects of student life on all campuses. 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.
Through IU Online, established in 2012, the university has firmly cemented itself as the state’s powerhouse for undergraduate and graduate online education. IU Online now offers over 180 online programs for both degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking students.
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 maintain the university’s infrastructure and to ensure 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 1 percent for students on the IU Bloomington and IUPUI campuses and 1.45 percent on all of IU’s regional campuses.
As you will hear in more detail from Vice President Sejdinaj in a moment, these recommended increases are the lowest tuition and fee increases at IU in more than 40 years.
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 2021 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.
Indiana University remains 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 screen over to IU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer John Sejdinaj to say a few additional words about our tuition recommendations.