Let summer school begin

Summer tuition rates drop, creates a livelier campus in the first semester of summer

Students and the university alike are benefitting from cheaper online and summer courses, saving students an average of 18 percent on summer classes.

A different tuition bracket contributed to Ball State's first Summer Session enrollment to increase by 6.8 this year, according to school officials.

The new bracket system charges students per credit hour instead of a flat rate for students taking one to three, four to five or six to nine credit hours, said Randy Howard, vice president of Business Affairs and Treasurer.

Howard said there is still a 12 to 18 hour bracket system, but students can now notice major differences in the price of their summer tuition.

"A student taking six hours on campus would see a $580 savings based on this new structure, and a student taking three hours would [save] $194," he said.

Student enrollment has also increased compared to previous years in both on- and off-campus courses.

The amount of total summer credit hours taken by students increased by approximately 9.5 percent this year, said Tony Proudfoot, associate vice president for Marketing and Communications.

Howard said on-campus enrollment, however, has been on the decline, thanks to more students taking off-campus courses.

"Total enrollments will definitely be up, without a doubt and it looks like the bulk of that growth is going to be once again in off campus," he said.

Timothy Pollard, chair of the Department of Telecommunications, said the department didn't have to drop any classes due to low enrollment numbers.

Although telecommunications enrollment is up for first summer session, Pollard said the second summer session tends to have a lower turnout. He also said Ball State is home to seemingly more students during the summer due to the decrease in tuition cost.

"With the lower tuition figures, you can make the classes more affordable in summer and it does give you the opportunity to take the lead and get ahead of yourself and maybe get out a little earlier," Pollard said.

With the price of higher education continuing to rise and the possibility of higher student loan interest rates set to go before Congress soon, students are happy to save money anywhere they can.

"Back last fall, the fall of 2011, we put forth what we called a four point initiative that we're trying to address affordability for students and be in alignment with state and university goals," Howard said. "We had heard some feedback from students that especially, because of that bracket system, if you looked at the cost per hour, they felt that when they were just taking one or two courses, summer was cost prohibitive or more expensive than it should be so we hope this initiative will help this out."

Senior advertising major Tasha Bates said she is grateful for the tuition decrease, not only for her own pocket, but for her family's as well.

"I'm about to graduate, so me and my family need to save as much money as possible," she said. "I'm very surprised that we do have a cut [in prices] this summer [because] summer school is typically very expensive. I'm very grateful for it."

The university wants the tuition decrease to help students graduate in four years or less, and to improve the likelihood Ball State will receive more state funding.

"In addition to the summer initiative, we offered a scholarship for students that do graduate in four or fewer years and that starts actually next year so every student that graduates in four or fewer years is going to get a $500 scholarship in their last semester at the institution and that'll be real money in probably about 1,000 students' pockets next year," Howard said.

Another way students are getting through school faster is coming up with a hybrid schedule, which Howard said is a combination between on- and off-campus courses in one semester.

"It used to be they would get two separate charges if you will and now they can pick up if they're in that 12 to 18 hour bracket, full-time student bracket, they can take online courses and if it keeps them in the bracket, it's virtually free and it gives them more choices for the number of courses they can take because in addition to just being on campus, they can look at the online schedule and that makes it easier to perhaps arrange their schedule to get out on time," he said.

These changes are definitely helping students out financially, but Howard isn't quick to say it's a complete success.

"I don't want to say that it's a test because the intent is that they are permanent changes, but of course every year we have to look at the budget," he said. "You never know if changes might need to be made but our thinking is they are indeed permanent changes."


More from The Daily

Loading Recent Classifieds...