Indiana University tuition increase lowest in decades


The Indiana University Board of Trustees approved the lowest tuition and fee increases in more than 30 years.

Wednesday afternoon, trustees voted to raise tuition for in-state students by 1.75 percent and non-resident students by 2.75 percent.

IU is the latest state school to heed the Indiana Commission for Higher Education's call to keep costs down. The commission has asked public colleges to limit increases in tuition to the rate of inflation, or two-percent, noting the cost of a public education in Indiana has doubled over the last decade.

Purdue University has already announced it will freeze tuition for two years, while Ball State trustees vote on a two-percent hike Thursday.

The IU vote came as freshmen and their parents took part in orientation on the Bloomington campus.

Connie McNulty, whose daughter will be attending IU this fall, said of the two-percent increase, "I think relatively speaking it's good news to me. I did get the email saying it was the lowest increase in years."

But McNulty and two other parents enjoying a quick lunch at the Union, also bemoaned how expensive a four-year degree has become.

Judy Rankin of Park Ridge, Illinois said, "It's crazy. If you don't plan for it, it's huge, huge."

Rankin will also have to pay the non-resident tuition, which is double what in-state students pay.

"If you add it all together for out-of-state, it's probably $40,000 a year," she said.

Michelle Mondi of Naperville interrupted, "No, it's $46,000."

Mondi added she'd like to see "the tuition for in-state go up and out-of-state (students) stay the same or go down, to make it more equal. It's not fair. There's such a big discrepancy in the two rates."

Kayla Smock, a junior from Carmel pursuing a nursing degree, said any tuition increase "is too much really. I feel like we pay a lot for college and they have so many projects going on. It's like they're putting it on students and we don't ask for that."

Smock's tuition will go up $176 a year, but she said that's not much consolation when she's relied on several loans to get through.

"I'm a little scared," she said. "Everyone says as nurses you'll have a good job going out, but I don't feel it's going to matter when I have so much student debt."

At least her loans are locked in. New students counting on the federal Stafford Loan to help pay for school could wind up owing even more.

That's because unless Congress acts within the next three weeks, the interest rate on new Stafford Loans will double July 1, first going from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.

McNulty said she was "extremely annoyed and disappointed" by that. She said her daughter applied for the loan because of the low interest rate.

"The cost of education is so exorbitant and overwhelming, we're struggling to get through the next four years," she said. "I hope the government backs us middle-class give our kids a chance to be in this environment."

Despite the rising costs, McNulty said, "we're still very much behind the importance of higher education and IU is a good place, has a great reputation and we think it will give her the education to get to a higher level."

Smock agreed.

"IU is really great," she said, but added she thought increased costs "are still always on the minds of students."