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June 9, 2013

Ivy Tech tuition to increase

Chancellor: funding gap forced the tough decision.

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana will increase tuition at all of its campuses by more than 4 percent for each of the next two years.

The college’s board of trustees approved the increase Thursday.

The cost per credit hour will increase by $5 for in-state students.

That brings the cost to $116.15 per credit hour, according to the college. In the 2014-15 school year, tuition charges will rise to $121.15 per credit hour.

Twenty percent of the money from the fall 2013 increase will go toward student activities, as requested by the college’s Student Government Association.

Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Chancellor Steve Daily said he doesn’t want to burden his students with rising tuition costs, but it has become necessary.

“The funding gap from the Legislature just keeps growing,” he said. “We have to make it up somehow.”

Forty-seven percent of all students enrolled in public colleges in Indiana attend Ivy Tech, he said. But the college gets just 14 percent of the appropriations from the state.

More than 160,000 students are enrolled in Ivy Tech campuses statewide, yet the college received about $200 million in state appropriations. And 187,179 students are enrolled in all of the other state colleges and universities combined, but those schools receive a combined $1.2 billion in appropriations from the state.

“It’s pretty dramatic when you look at it that way,” Daily said. “I’m not saying we should be funded like a university. We need a little more public support.”

He said sometimes people lose focus of the clientele Ivy Tech serves. Nearly 80,000 of the college’s students receive the Pell Grant, far more than any other college or university in Indiana, Daily said. Those students often have the hardest time finding the money to pay for tuition increases.

Ivy Tech also serves the majority of Indiana’s minority students, the chancellor said.

The tuition increase will boost the college’s revenue by $12.8 million a year, with $1.7 million of that going to student activities.

The remaining funds aren’t enough to make up for the $68 million deficit Ivy Tech is operating on.

Daily said the college faces some tough decisions — including whether to close up to a quarter of its sites across the state.

“The money gets tighter and tighter,” he said. “When you lose so much money, it gets hard to stay in operation. You reach a point in time, the only place you can cut is people.”

Daily is hopeful no sites in this region will close. Right now, the college has facilities in all six counties it serves.

“We think that’s extremely important,” he said.

The best it can do right now is get more aggressive in recruiting students to its campuses, Daily said. The sites with the smallest enrollments will likely be closed first.

“We’re a bit more secure than some because we own a lot of our buildings,” he said.

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