INDIANAPOLIS — As the cost of higher education continues to rise around the country, one university in Indianapolis has found its own way to ease loan debt for students and make education more affordable.
In just a few months, massive tuition reductions will take effect at Martin University, saving Hoosiers thousands.
"It's just something that's really awesome," said Shane Lee, a Martin student.
Lee is no stranger to the classroom. After a full day teaching high school, he becomes the student at Martin University. But by the time his next semester begins, his courses will become a whole lot cheaper.
"I took a deep breath first because I was like, wow," Lee said.
In January, Martin University will reduce tuition 45% for undergraduate classes and 42% for graduate courses.
"This will essentially make Martin University one of the most affordable and really, one of the best values in higher education in our state," said Dr. Sean Huddleston, president of Martin University.
The tuition reductions have been two years in the making, according to Huddleston, starting as a way to make the degrees and educational opportunities more valuable.
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"We recognized that there were certain things that were standing in the way, certain barriers. We realized that for the students that we serve, our degree probably wasn't affordable, wasn't necessarily as accessible as we had hoped and wasn't as applicable to a rewarding career as we had hoped as well," he said.
So university leaders got to work, finding efficiencies where they could and trimming budgets to make the cuts possible.
As a predominantly Black university, Huddleston said they wanted ensure that their students would have every opportunity to succeed in their future careers without being buried by student loans in order to get the education they want and deserve.
"You make the classes more affordable, that means I can actually take more classes at one time to finish the degree earlier," Lee said.
And already, interest from potential students has skyrocketed.
“Since we announced it last week, we’ve actually seen the number of inquiries coming into our institution about possible enrolling, it’s tripled just in the days that we’ve done this. And so, we believe that we’ve done something that will benefit a lot of people,” Huddleston said.
For Lee, he said this move will make it much more accessible for him to advance his career through higher education. And he hopes it inspires others around the community to come back to the classroom themselves.
"With this opportunity that's here, take advantage of it," Lee said. "With the way the world is going, you need to have something in your background to fall back on and Martin University is going to provide that need that need to the community."
Along with reducing tuition, Martin University also announced that as part of its Reset to Reemerge program, it would be wiping out up to $10,000 in debt for many students who had previously had delinquent accounts. School leaders say that decision is already allowing students who had quit school altogether because of their overdue balances to come back and start the path forward to finishing their degrees.
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