Tuition cost increases

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Graphic by Darion Hutchinson and Jenna Krall

Graphic by Darion Hutchinson and Jenna Krall

Undergraduate students will face a 3.9 percent increase in tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year. This announcement is normally made in January, according to a statement released by President Robert Manuel. The rates were announced earlier due to changes made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid deadlines. The applications are now being accepted starting on Oct. 1 rather than Jan. 1.

Increased tuition and room and board rates were released to the student body on Friday, Dec 2. The annual report details the rates reviewed and approved by the university’s board of trustees. These rates apply to undergraduates for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The undergraduate full-time tuition will increase by $940 from $26,920 to $27,860, according to the statement. The standard residence room will increase by $198 from $4,928 to $5,126, and the 14 Meal Plan will increase by $142 from $4,720 to $4,862.

Manuel said this money will improve things such as food quality, university technology, security and the physical plant and will increase student services offered. The rate increases are relatively close to the increases over the last few years, but that’s not by design, according to Manuel.

“We don’t look at last year and say, ‘Well, where do we want to be?’” Manuel said. “We look at the services we want to commit, the aspirations that everyone has; and we help to afford those kinds of things.”

The increase may seem like a lot, but Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mark Weigand said that while the straight tuition rate has steadily increased, the financial aid offered by the university has increased comparatively. According to Weigand, the net tuition price has actually decreased due to strong freshman enrollment with the increased tuition.

Weigand said the university maintains two efforts to provide strong educational experiences for students: First, UIndy has made a long-term commitment to keep the published tuition rate as low as possible in comparison to other private colleges. Second, UIndy makes an effort to be conscious of financial aid for students, not only merit- and talent-based aid but need-based aid as well, according to Weigand.

“A lot of colleges across the country have shifted over the years away from need-based aid and put all their money in merit- or talent-aid,” Weigand said. “What that does is … hurt students that are first-generation, and it hurts students that can’t afford college. So we’ve tried to balance both our costs, keeping that level on the low end compared to other private colleges, but also we keep putting more money on the financial aid side. So the two together, our net price, have been really stable. For four years in a row, our net price for full time students has actually gone down by $100 a year.”

Compared to the tuition rates at other private universities, UIndy’s currently ranks lower than at many other universities, including Marian and Butler. Indianapolis Student Government President Jason Marshall said the increase is still relatively cheap for a private education.

“As a student, I like seeing my money put to good use. I feel good knowing that financial aid has increased by $2 million. As student body president, I know that student government is working. Some residence halls, as well as Good Hall, are being renovated, and we’re bringing in two new majors to the engineering program,” Marshall said. “What’s really exciting is the new vendor that’s coming.”

Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli announced in a campus-wide email on Dec. 7 that Quest Food Management Services of Chicago was the new vendor. The email said Quest manages the food service of more than 60 locations and has three decades of experience. The announcement indicated that there will be several changes as the new vendor settles in, such as the labeling of food products including symbols. Quest will take over management of food service operations at UIndy effective Jan. 1, 2017. There will be opportunities when classes resume after break for campus feedback about the vendor change, according to the email.

In an email sent by President Robert Manuel, he said that students concerned about the tuition increase have options available to assist with education funding. The President’s Office encourag

es students to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible. Students are also encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss any financial concerns.

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