The University of Indianapolis announced to students that the cost of undergraduate tuition, room and board would be increasing for the 2019-2020 academic year on Dec. 3 in an emailed letter from University President Robert Manuel. Tuition rates for the 40 graduate programs have not been finalized and the cost will vary by program, according to Manuel and Vice President for Enrollment Services Ronald Wilks.
Both undergraduate tuition and the standard double room rate will increase by 3.5 percent annually. Tuition will be increased by $1,008, bringing the total cost for one year before financial or institutional aid to $29,844. The standard room rate will increase by $184 to $5,464 per year.
The 14-meal plan will total $5,136 annually, an increase of $128 or 2.55 percent. University fees, which support the campus health center, insurance, dining services and technological upgrades amongst other services will increase to $1,132 per year, a 3.3 percent increase.
These increases mean that the average undergraduate student will pay a total of $41,576 annually, without institutional or federal financial aid. However, according to Manuel’s email, the university increased scholarships, grants and need-based aid by $3 million to a total of $54 million. Manuel and Wilks encourage all students to submit their FAFSA applications on time to ensure that they get the maximum amount of federal financial aid.
“We’re adding more dollars to financial aid every year that we increase the tuition rates,” Manuel said. “So tuition might go up. You look at it on paper and see it goes from 28-something to 29-something, but the financial aid merit money is also going up by millions of dollars to be able to help people afford to stay connected to the school, and that’s our goal.”
Manuel said that the university takes into account a variety of factors when deciding how much to increase tuition, such as faculty and staff salaries, electricity, heating and cooling and other maintenance costs. Even so, the university remains one of the lowest costing private universities in the state, according to Manuel.
“While we have to increase tuition and room and board to cover costs and to make sure that we’re able to provide the education we provide, we do that in a way that is consistently lower than most of the state and that also includes investment in people’s ability to continue to afford the education through financial aid,” Manuel said. “All of that happens relative to us being what I would call a very good value inside the different private institutions in the state of Indiana.”
According to a graphic provided by Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Jeanette DeDiemar, UIndy is currently projected to be the sixth lowest-costing private institution in Indiana for 2019-2020, close in cost to Manchester University and Trine University. For 2018, UIndy was the second lowest-costing private institution. When looking at the cost of tuition and where UIndy stands in comparison to other private universities, Manuel said, that the most important piece to keep in mind is perspective.
“The antithetical argument is that college costs a lot of money. And it does. But when you look at us compared to those [other] private schools, you get a sense that we’re doing all this stuff for the amount of money that we charge. It’s truly remarkable,” Manuel said. “So solving or engaging the question of parking this year, engaging the question of new residence facilities to bring more people here, all of that is being done at a place where we’re really far down the line in the amount of money that we cost. If we look at the difference between a Notre Dame, a Butler or a Marian and at UIndy, you can really see the differences that are then used to ensure that people can afford to be here, both because we keep our prices down and because we provide that merit money and that access to need-based money.”
Manuel, Wilks and junior religion major and Indianapolis Student Government President Jamarcus Walker encourage students to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid or other support systems around campus if they are worried about being able to afford to continue studying at UIndy.
“The university does everything that it can and it literally moves everything for the students. There should never be a worry about the struggles or the financial aspect of tuition and coming here,” Walker said. “But if you are concerned, reach out. Use the resources that are in front of you, that the university has given so that students, like myself, can know that they are being heard and that someone is there to answer the questions they have and figure out the best way for them to stay and get a good education.”