Ball State officials discuss tuition proposal at public forum

The Daily News

Ball State officials discussed reasons for the proposed 2 percent tuition increase at a public forum Wednesday, a day before the university’s Board of Trustees is set to vote on its approval.

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora and Randy Howard, vice president of business affairs and treasurer, spoke at the forum, which lacked any student attendance on Wednesday.

Ten days ago the university recommended a 2 percent tuition increase for each of the next two years after receiving a small 0.6 percent cut in its operating budget but an overall increase in funding.

“In terms of the process, our board’s goal is basically to keep tuition as low as possible without sacrificing the quality of the educational experience,” Howard said during his presentation.

For in-state, full-time undergraduate students, the increase will be $180 dollars in 2013-14 and $184 in 2014-15. Out-of-state tuition would be $474 and $486 the next two years.

Howard said in-state graduate student tuition would rise 3 percent in the first year and 2.1 percent in the second year. He also said journalism and telecommunication students fees would increase to $125 per semester in 2013-14 and $138 in 2014-15 because of the high costs to deliver those programs.

He said tuition increases have been necessary because of the decrease in state funding, noting †hat Indiana has ranged from 41st to 45th lowest in the nation of higher education funding per full time equivalent. 

“We still face some financial challenges, but we also are concerned about affordability just like the state of Indiana and students and parents,” Howard said despite the tuition increase in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s a balancing act. We’re trying to balance increasing costs that we face and have in some case no control over and in some cases some control over, but we don’t want to sacrifice the educational quality.”

Howard said the university has managed its spending, adding that the university is spending less than it did in 2001 when adjusted for inflation.

But one of the focuses of the budget in this biennium for the university has been faculty and staff salaries, Gora said.

“Through some very careful efficiencies we will be able to give a 3 percent increase to faculty and a 2.5 percent increase to professional staff,” she said. “We were under a lot of pressure to keep our tuition fee recommendation within the commission’s guidelines and so we worked hard to do that.”

Purdue recently froze its tuition for the next two years while Indiana University raised its tuition by 1.75 percent. Gora said Purdue’s tuition freeze didn’t add any pressure for Ball State to do the same.

“We would be delighted to freeze our tuition if we charged as much as Purdue or received the level of state support that Purdue has or had a $1 billion endowment,” she said. “Purdue gets greater support from the state per student than we do and charges a higher tuition.”


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