By Lesley Weidenbener
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University plans to begin
discounting its tuition by 25 percent for its summer sessions at its campuses
in Bloomington, Indianapolis and across the state to encourage year-round
IU President Michael McRobbie said Monday that
students who take a full load of classes in the summer could save about $700 to
$1,100, depending on their areas of study and the campuses they attend.
The increased emphasis on summer classes will also
give students more flexibility and allow the university to fill buildings that
are underused from June to August, He said.
"Our goal is to incentivize students to take
courses when we have capacity," McRobbie said. "I'm pretty optimistic
we'll see students take advantage of this."
The move comes as IU and other state universities are
under pressure from state lawmakers to cut costs, make degrees more affordable
and cut the time necessary to graduate.
Indiana Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley,
R-Noblesville, said IU's plan is an important one. "They're
saying: Let's fill up these buildings in the summer
time," Kenley said. "That's a great concept."
But Kenley said it doesn't excuse the university's
move to increase overall tuition higher than the amounts recommended by the
Indiana Higher Education Commission. For Bloomington's undergraduate, in-state
students, tuition went up 5.5 percent this fall, but Kenley said for other
classes of students it will go up by as much as 22 percent.
"It's pretty outrageous," Kenley said.
Still, Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, a
former state senator, said IU's plans are a move in the right direction.
"This is more than a pilot," Lubbers said. "We know
there is pent-up interest in the part of students to graduate more quickly."
McRobbie will present the plan Friday to the IU Board
of Trustees but he appeared assured of its passage. Still, he acknowledged the
school has a number of details yet to decide.
classes will be offered next summer. McRobbie said the university intends
to have at least as many available as in a typical summer and possibly
more. Within several years, he said the course offerings should increase
student financial aid will be impacted. The Indiana General Assembly has
taken steps to make more state scholarship funds available for summer
classes but there might be problems with students who rely on federal
grants, Lubbers said.
Already, about 40 percent of IU's student body –
or about 43,000 students – take at least one summer class annually.
McRobbie said Monday he hopes to boost that number by 10 percent in 2012 and by
50 percent within a few years.
The goal, he said, is for the summer semester to
eventually operate similarly to the current fall and spring semesters.
"What's going on is really a mechanism that is going
to lead, I believe, to a fundamental change in the whole way we view the year
and the academic calendar," McRobbie said. "What we are going to be doing is
really converting to year-round education."
Gov. Mitch Daniels did not attend Monday's
announcement but he provided a statement praising the plan and urging other
universities to take similar action.
"Every college and university should be looking for
ways to help students get more education for their dollar," the governor said.
"IU's idea to maximize use of its facilities year-found is a good one and one
that should be imitated at all of our schools. I hope to see campuses full of
hardworking students next summer."
The discounted tuition will be available at campuses
in Richmond, Kokomo, New Albany, Gary, South Bend, Bloomington and
Indianapolis. Students attending Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne will not be eligible
because the tuition at that campus is established by Purdue University.
The above is one of an ongoing series of reports
from the Indiana Statehouse by students at the Franklin College Pulliam School