Presenting at the Board for Trustees meeting (left to right), Kay Bales, vice president for enrollment planning and management. Ro Anne Royer Engle, interim vice president for student affairs, and Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Bales said this year, Ball State broke the record for total enrollments. Charles Melton, DN.
Ball State Board of Trustees discuss record enrollment, heath care insurance changes
Ball State's Board of Trustees met Friday at Cardinal Hall B in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, and heard from different officials from the Ball State community.
Alan Finn, the new vice president for business affairs and treasurer, discussed eliminating the low-deductible health care plan for employees, and moving them to the other two health care options offered to employees.
“The low deductible plan that we're eliminating, those 55 employees, we will help them transition to one of our other two plans, whichever one makes the most sense for them,” Finn said. “Because this is a really high-cost plan, really expensive for the employees [and] really expensive for the university.”
Ball State will also discontinue giving new employees retiree health and dental insurance, he said.
“We offer health insurance for people after they retire and there's now so many other options," Finn said. "For those people, it's a pretty expensive thing for us to invest in.”
It was important, he said, for the employees of Ball State to understand this policy does not affect them, and only new employees that join after Jan. 1 will be affected.
Finn said the data indicates health and dental insurance was "not a big thing for new employees and that if it was not an option for new employees, "I don't know that you're going to miss what you never had.”
In his presentation to the board, Finn said a formal survey in 2013 showed that 6 percent of the employees at Ball State cited retiree health and life insurance benefits as a reason to work at Ball State.
Also presented at the meeting was the enrollment update for 2019. Kay Bales, said Ball State broke the previous record of total enrollment, enrolling a grand total of 22,541 students in 2019.
“About a year ago, we finished our strategic enrollment plan and so, we set out to do some very specific things around our recruitment of our students,” Bales said.
In terms of freshman applications, another record was broken, with Ball State receiving a total of 27,478 freshman applications for the 2019 school year, Bales said. A total of 4,034 freshmen were admitted to Ball State.
The freshman class also broke records in total size, average high school GPA, a higher college gpa of a 3.5 or higher, domestic underrepresented minorities in the class and the number of students with an academic honors diploma, she said.
Ball State is also Indiana’s first school to go test-optional, enrolling 1,096 of 8,733 test-optional applicants, Bales said. Test-optional means that potential students are not required to send in an SAT or ACT score on their college application.
“We spent time talking about whether or not that was the best direction for the institution, we looked at all of our internal data, we looked at what national research is saying, and we became the first Indiana four-year institution to become test optional,” she said. “I think that's part of what started some of our increase in applications is the fact that we offer this opportunity to prospective students.”