Tuition may increase greatly next year

Brownell considering plan similar to Purdue UniversityGÇÖs increase of 24 percent.

Ball State is considering a tuition increase, similar to one recently implemented at Purdue University, as part of a plan to supplement potential flatlining of state funds, President Blaine Brownell said.

Purdue's Board of Trustees, according to the Associated Press, raised its tuition by 24 percent Nov. 2 to help hire more professors, increase faculty salaries and cut class sizes. Last year, Ball State increased tuition by about 5 percent.

According to Brownell, universities can't get by on state funds alone.

"We're having a difficult economic period right now," Brownell said.

In a televised address Thursday, Gov. Frank O'Bannon announced his "common sense" balanced-budget plan that, if implemented, would hold university funding next year at its current level.

O'Bannon said he wants to hold spending in lieu of cutting more state services -- a tactic he said would render "permanent damage" to Indiana's public schools.

According to Dan Reagan, associate professor of political science, Ball State usually receives an increase of 4 percent in state funds annually. The university received $119.2 million, an increase of slightly less than 2 percent, in 2001-2002.

Even if state-funding increases are not frozen, Brownell said the university might still consider increases in tuition and fees.

"I think that in terms of sustaining and improving the level of quality, the 3 to 4 percent increase annually from Indiana is not enough," Brownell said. "Now we're looking at less. I don't envision making progress without raising tuition and fees."

Brownell, however, said he wants an increase in financial aid to accompany any major tuition increase.

Brownell said he has already asked the enrollment management committee to discuss what level of tuition would be best for the university. Such decisions are usually made in late spring, he said.

The committee, Brownell said, will also evaluate possible expenditure cuts, such as personnel -- although he said he sees "no obvious places" to make them.

"We don't have many units that are expendable," he said. "We need to find more efficient ways of spending money."


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