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Commission calls on Indiana colleges to hold line on tuition increases

State would limit tuition increases between zero to 1.4 percent over next two years

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education today adopted a recommendation calling on the state’s public colleges and universities to hold annual increases in undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees flat but no more than 1.4 percent in each of the next two years.

“Indiana’s recent tuition increases are the lowest in nearly three decades and among the lowest in the nation,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “Our latest tuition recommendations aim to continue this trend to ensure college is affordable for Hoosier students and families.”

The Commission is charged by state statute with recommending non-binding tuition and mandatory fee targets every two years for each of Indiana’s public colleges. Though authority for setting tuition rates rests with each college’s board of trustees, the Indiana General Assembly has sought the Commission’s expertise in addressing the rising cost of tuition in Indiana.

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Controlling College Costs

In recent years, a coordinated effort between state policymakers and Indiana college leaders has significantly curbed tuition increases for Hoosiers. At Indiana’s public four-year colleges, in-state tuition and mandatory fee rates grew by an average of 1.8% each year from 2006-07 to 2016-17, about half the national average of 3.5%. This places Indiana’s public four-year colleges 6th nationally for the lowest average one-year increase in tuition and fees over ten years. In-state tuition and fee rates at Indiana’s public two-year colleges also increased below national averages over the same time period: 2.6% compared to 2.8% nationally.

Strong leadership at Indiana’s public institutions has been key in reversing a longstanding trend in rising college costs. Purdue University-West Lafayette and Indiana University-Bloomington have frozen tuition and mandatory fees for several consecutive years, and more than half (9 out of 16) of Indiana’s public colleges met the Commission’s 1.65% per year recommendation in the last biennium.

Next Steps

Under state law, Indiana colleges must hold a public hearing no later than 30 days after the Commission sets its non-binding tuition and mandatory fee targets. Tuition and mandatory fee rates for the next two academic years must be set by the institutions no later than 60 days after the enactment of the state budget.

Learn more about the Commission’s efforts to ensure college affordability—as outlined in the agency’s “Reaching Higher, Delivering Value” strategic plan—at www.che.in.gov.

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