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Tuition increases along with UIndy’s benefits

Posted on 02.20.2013

Full-time undergraduate tuition at the University of Indianapolis will increase 3.5 percent for the 2013-2014 academic  year,  according to a campus-wide email sent on Feb. 8, containing a letter from President Robert Manuel.

Tuition for next academic year will be $24,420, an $830 increase from this year. In addition, room and board, with a standard room and 14-meal plan, will increase 2.5 percent, or $220.

To make the decision, Manuel and other university stakeholders examined the university’s budget and needs, taking into account the students’ input as expressed through Vision 2030 conferences and other discussions. Manuel said the strategic planning process involved more than 1,600 students, calling this level of input unprecedented.

“What we’ve done is an effective job of taking what’s coming in from the students and making sure that the largest percent of that [tuition increase] goes back to the student experience,” Manuel said. “… A lot of times people will think [we] raise tuition and we pocket that money somewhere. But really it [what we are doing] is raising it to keep up with the increase in the costs and to invest in the kind of priorities that we see.”

According to Manuel, the increase ultimately depended on needing to balance costs  while sustaining the university’s quality of education, competitiveness and strategic planning initiatives.

Although tuition at UIndy has steadily experienced annual raises throughout the past decade, Manuel said that the raises have been relatively moderate, especially in comparison with other private colleges in Indiana.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mark Weigand attributed this statistic to the university’s responsible fiscal management over the past decade.

“I think we’ve had a 10-year period where we have learned how to maintain costs that are reasonable and keep costs in check better than many other universities,” Weigand said.

Tuition at UIndy has increased 41.9 percent over the past 10 years, while other private colleges in Indiana have seen increases as high as 154.3 percent, according to comprehensive data supplied by Assistant Vice President for Institutional Planning and Research Patrick Alles. UIndy boasts the third-lowest tuition increase behind Huntington University and Martin University, with increases of 34.4 percent and 29.1 percent, respectively.

Data compiled by Assistant Vice President for Institutional Planning and Research Patrick Alles. Graphic by Abby Gross

Weigand said the relatively low increases have been purposeful, and UIndy’s statistics reflect the university’s commitment to being an efficient steward of students’ tuition dollars. He also stressed that this year’s tuition increase includes an increased commitment to financial aid for students.

“Part of the equation has to do with financial aid packaging for students. Last year, we awarded—of just our university financial aid—a total of over $28 million,” Weigand said. “So, that’s a big part of what we do with money.”

Manuel said that this increased commitment to financial aid, specifically through institutional grants, is crucial because it increases access for qualified students with financial need.

According to Weigand, UIndy’s record enrollment figures from the past decade have demonstrated the university’s competitiveness as an institution. He said that the current tuition increase maintains the appeal of quality and affordability.

“A moderate increase [in tuition], when you already are near the bottom of the cost for tuition, compared to other private colleges, puts us in a competitive position, combined with our intent to put money back into financial aid, which means the total cost—the net cost—that students actually pay, will be competitive,” Weigand said.

Manuel said this year’s tuition increase is designed to enhance the learning experience for students, in hopes of giving UIndy graduates a competitive edge in the workforce.

“We’re promoting innovations in educational engagement, so new ways to teach, new pedagogies, new technologies inside of that area, which is a way to help our students become more competitive in the workforce,” Manuel said. “In order to really maintain your competitiveness and your relevancy, there has to be progress in those areas, and that requires some of these tuition dollars.”

Manuel and Weigand said that UIndy is still planning future changes, through the Vision 2030 process and task forces. Both noted that many initiatives are already in place, including the extended hours for The Perk, Streets Corner and the library, the reopened weight room in Ruth Lilly and the addition of printers in residence halls.  According to Weigand, these services are budgeted for next year, and the tuition increase helps offset the additional costs of these services.

Manuel said students can expect to see additional improvements in the near future. Currently, the university is exploring research and advisement opportunities for students, as well as improvements in campus security. When budgeting and planning tuition increases, Manuel said that the university’s mission is to promote education by investing in students and faculty.

“We continue to work to make sure we are being as productive as we can towards the goals of educating and creating citizens that produce,” Manuel said.

Students who are concerned about the impact of the tuition increase are advised to make an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid. To be considered for federal, state and institutional financial aid, students must file the UIndy application for financial aid, as well as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before March 10.


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