Full-time undergraduate students at the University of Indianapolis will be paying more for tuition, room and board, meal plans and university fees as the rates increase for the 2020-21 academic year, University President Robert Manuel announced earlier this month in an email to students. The cost of full-time undergraduate tuition will rise to $30,888, compared to the 2019-20 rate of $29,844.
The tuition rates for graduate programs were not affected by this increase, as they are set by individual departments, Manuel said. Many of the graduate program rates have stayed constant, while some have been raised and others have been lowered.
The university has to increase tuition in order to cover the costs that are needed for UIndy to be a good institution, Manuel said. These costs include merit increases for faculty and staff, heating and cooling costs and other needs that come up while running a university.
“One of the things that’s really important is the notion that this isn’t just to put money in the bank,” Manuel said. “These increases are to pay for academic and student life enhancements, to pay for the quality of the experience that students have and the ability for students to get here in the first place.”
If the university did not increase the pay for faculty and staff, they could end up losing some faculty and staff, Manuel said. Some schools, such as Purdue University, have the ability to not increase their tuition, due to having a set allocation of funds from the state. However, UIndy does not have this option, he said, and as a result has to raise its tuition.
Out of 19 private colleges in Indiana, UIndy’s tuition for 2019-20 is among the lowest, ranking at 18th, according to a chart provided by Kelly Hauflaire, associate vice president for marketing & communications. Butler University ranks fifth, with a tuition of $41,370 and DePauw University ranks first, with a tuition of $50,278, according to the chart. The university’s long-term goal is to keep tuition as low as possible, according to Manuel.Tuition-Comparison
“At a time when institutions could raise their tuition by eight or nine or 10 percent because the [increased] populations were coming, UIndy never did,” Manuel said. “We always kept our tuition relatively low for a private school.”
While every university is increasing their prices, UIndy’s allocation of its assets to academic resources is at a much higher rate than other universities, Manuel said. UIndy tries to do their best to make sure that the price doesn’t affect someone’s ability to attend UIndy, both through financial aid and by trying to keep the price as low as they can.
“There are things that go up every year in cost,” Manuel said. “It just costs us more to heat the buildings and it costs us more as gas prices go up. It costs us to have… good and qualified faculty and staff to service the student population…. Not to imagine the resources that you get through Kory’s [Vitangeli] shop—the services that you get, counseling and healthcare and all those things. They increase in value each year.”
Along with the tuition increase, the standard room rate will be increased to $5,656 annually, the 14-meal plan will be $5,316 annually and university fees will be $1,380 annually for 2020-21, according to the email. The 14-meal plan is considered by the university as the standard plan that students use, which is why it is specifically mentioned in the announcement for tuition, Manuel said. The rates for the other meal plan options were also increased.
The cost of tuition deposits and housing deposits are also not affected by this increase, according to Manuel and Kory Vitangeli, vice president for student and campus affairs and dean of students.
UIndy’s room and board rate was ranked the 11th lowest rate out of 19 private colleges in Indiana, in terms of price, according to the chart. UIndy’s room and board rate for 2019-20 was $10,600, while Butler University’s, which is ranked second, was $14,300 and DePauw University’s, which is ranked third, was $13,400.
University fees include student healthcare services, injury insurance coverage, parking upgrades, enhancements to technology and support, dining services upgrades and other amenities that the university considers associated with students’ experiences at UIndy, according to the email. The student activities fee is also included under university fees, along with academic and graduation fees, according to Manuel and Vitangeli.
“Although we don’t have a parking fee, it is money that’s going to help pay for, if we’re expanding parking or putting in call boxes or doing other stuff like that,” Vitangeli said. “A lot of that’s going to the general fund of the university as well.”
The Office of Student Affairs’ orientation programs and student life programs are funded through the university fees, according to Manuel. These programs help with student retention and help students become more connected socially and academically, he said.
Indianapolis Student Government Treasurer LA Abdullah said that if the increase in the university fees provides students with a better quality experience, then the increase is worth it. He said that he believes that students come to UIndy in order to receive a quality education and want to benefit from the things the university provides to them.
“At the end of the day, I do think a quality experience will be taken more positively from the students, [more] than anything else,” Abdullah said. “If it really is going [to] increase the quality of the experience they get here, then I would say it’s worth it.”