No public comments at ISU fees hearing

·4 min read

Jun. 10—Indiana State University proposes to raise tuition and mandatory fees 1.4% each of the next two years, subject to approval by the board of trustees.

ISU conducted a public hearing Wednesday to receive input on the proposed increases for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. The hearing, required by state law, took place via Zoom webinar.

No student or member of the public commented at the Zoom hearing.

The proposed increase is $66 per semester or $132 for the academic year for a full-time, in-state undergraduate student for 2021-22, and $67 per semester or $134 for the academic year for 2022-23.

"ISU has a history of affordable student tuition and is committed to maintaining student tuition increases at no more than the Consumer Price Index," said Diann McKee, senior vice president for finance and administration.

The three-year compound annual growth rate in the CPI for the Midwest Region is 1.45%, she said.

The Student Recreation Center fee and Student Health and Wellness fee for both academic years will remain flat at $100 and $40 per semester, respectively.

This year, tuition and mandatory fees for the academic year have been $9,466. With the proposed increases, it will be $9,598 for 2021-22 and $9,732 for 2022-23 — for full-time, in-state undergraduates.

In comparison to Indiana's other public four-year residential institutions, "ISU remains the most affordable with this proposed increase," McKee said.

A comparison of proposed tuition and required fees for 2021-22 indicates that for IU Bloomington, it is $11,333; Ball State, $10,291 [based on an estimated 1.45% increase; Purdue-West Lafayette, $9,992; IUPUI, $10,044; and ISU, $9,598.

Those figures include mandatory fees assessed all full-time students.

The tuition and fee increases will be used "to maintain the academic quality of instruction; to meet ongoing operational expenses and to provide student scholarships and fee remissions," McKee said.

While no one commented during the hearing, if anyone would have written comment, they can contact Curtis at the following email address: president@indstate.edu.

ISU trustees will act on the tuition increase when they meet at 11:30 a.m. June 18. The meeting, in the State Room of Tirey Hall, will be in person. It is open to the public, and the meeting also will be streamed online.

After the meeting, Curtis explained why tuition increases are necessary

"Indiana State traditionally operates on a very narrow margin. We do not have some of the resources that some of the larger public institutions in the state have," she said. "We keep our tuition and fees below all the other statewide [public, four-year residential] institutions on purpose so our students have an affordable, high quality option."

That means the margins are narrow, while the cost of operating the university continues to go up. "Sometimes it goes up more than the CPI," Curtis said.

She pointed out the university has done much budget cutting the last few years.

Some limited tuition increases are needed "to continue to meet the needs of our students with costs that continue to rise," she said.

Energy costs often go up more than the Consumer Price Index, she said. ISU also faces increases for such things as technology and software as well as publications and journals purchased by the ISU library.

In a related matter, when asked about fall enrollment, Curtis said, "We're still clawing our way out of where this pandemic has had us."

Purdue and IU both are enrolling students on their wait lists. "A lot of those folks [on wait lists] would have been the ones coming here and some of our other institutions in the state," she said.

That's in keeping with national trends, she said. "The flagships are going to do fine, because they'll open their wait lists more. It's the other institutions like us — the comprehensives — that will bear the brunt of that."

At this point, it appears that fall enrollment "is not going to be a growth number," she said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.