Colleges Keep Eyes On Tuition

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The announcement pleased lawmakers as they drafted budgets.

It enthused state officials as they set lofty goals to better educate Hoosiers.

It excited students and families as they mulled college costs and scholarship offers.

Across Indiana and the nation, many agree that Purdue University’s recent decision to freeze tuition for two years at its main campus can’t be ignored by other schools — even as other state universities, including Indiana University, hint that they won’t exactly follow that lead.

“Everybody seems to want to think, well, Purdue did something, so IU needs to respond,” IU spokesman Mark Land said. “We’re not going to feel like we’re pressured toward anything by anybody else’s actions.”

There are other approaches to college affordability already in place at IU and Ball State University, where on-time graduation is financially rewarded.

But if other public colleges raise their prices this year, Luke Kenley, the Indiana Senate’s budget leader, warned, “In each case, they need to be prepared to justify tuition increases.”

Gone is the expectation — and long gone is the acceptance among lawmakers — that college can cost substantially more each year.

Purdue’s holding of tuition at $9,900 annually stops a 36-year tradition of increases at the school and flies in the face of rising tuition costs across the nation that have exceeded the rate of inflation.

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