Indiana University announced that it has renewed its summer tuition discount program for this year at six of its seven campuses around the state, which will provide a 25 percent discount to Indiana resident undergraduate students attending classes during the summer and an equivalent dollar reduction in tuition for non-resident students.
IU began the summer tuition discount in 2012 in order to provide financial relief to its students and their families and an incentive for attending IU year-round. It was also designed to provide an affordable option for students who wanted to decrease the time it takes to earn their degrees and allow for greater use of the university’s facilities across the state during the summer months.
The tuition discount will be replaced at the Bloomington campus with an increase in the number of credit hours that can be taken under the flat fee tuition rate. That increase — from 17 to 18 hours each fall and spring semester — will allow students to take an additional three-credit class during each of those semesters without increasing their tuition costs, further complementing the university’s efforts to encourage students to graduate in four years or less. The increase will go into effect in the fall 2014 semester.
Over the past two years during which the summer tuition discount has been in effect, summer session attendance has remained essentially flat at IU Bloomington, increasing by only 1 percent in the first year of the program and falling 0.5 percent from the first to the second year of the program. At the same time, many of IU’s other campuses have seen larger gains in summer enrollment as result of the discount program.
“We are continually looking for the most effective ways to provide economic value to our students and their families and to promote on-time graduation across all of our campuses,” said IU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer MaryFrances McCourt. “We’re also committed to tailoring all of our efforts to best meet the needs of specific student populations. To this end, we believe the changes to the credit hour cap at IU Bloomington reflect the best interests of students who are often inclined to take on a heavier credit load during the fall and spring semesters to accommodate programs such as summer internships and study abroad, while staying on track to graduate on time and with as little debt as possible.”
Under the existing model, IU undergraduates pay a flat fee for tuition, which entitles them to register for 12 to 17 credit hours per semester. To graduate in four years, students who enroll for two semesters each year must average at least 15 credit hours per semester.
The idea of raising the cap above 17 credit hours was first proposed last spring by IU’s Board of Aeons, a student group that advises the IU president. The group suggested that by expanding the flat fee beyond 17 credits per fall and spring semester, the university would enable more students to assume heavier credit loads and complete their degrees more quickly while incurring no additional cost.
Under the new plan, an Indiana resident student taking 18 credits per semester would save about $284 each semester compared to the current cost of taking 18 hours. Non-resident students would save nearly $1,000.
“The Board of Aeons made a compelling case for increasing the credit hours included in the flat fee as a way to help students save money and graduate on time,” said IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel. “Bloomington’s residential focus differs from that of other campuses. Having access to more classes during the fall and spring semesters enables our students to graduate sooner, while leaving the summers open for overseas study, internships, research and other high-impact practices.”
The first two years of the summer tuition discount program have resulted in more students taking courses at IU campuses across the state and a combined savings to those students of $24.2 million. IU’s campuses in Kokomo and Richmond have experienced record summer enrollments in each of the first two years of the program. Last summer, IU’s Kokomo campus saw a nearly 13-percent increase over the previous year, while enrollment at the IU East campus was up 9 percent.
“The summer tuition discount and increase in the flat-fee cap speak louder than words,” said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. “University-wide, IU is firmly committed to supporting our students by increasing affordability and completion rates, and reducing time to degree. We are committed to experimenting with a range of creative approaches, and adopting those that show promise of helping us to meet these goals.”
IU has introduced a number of initiatives in recent years related to affordability and financial literacy, including the summer tuition discount as well as:
• MoneySmarts – a multifaceted financial literacy program that provides students with the knowledge they need to make smart financial decisions while in college.
• Finish in Four – a program, launched in October 2012, that effectively freezes tuition and fees for a student’s final two years, as long as the student is on track to graduate in four years after his or her sophomore year and remains on track thereafter.
• Tuition increases for the current biennium that are the lowest in almost a half century, with the undergraduate tuition increase at 1.75 percent.
A new website, affordability.iu.edu, that provides detailed information about each of IU’s affordability and financial literacy initiatives.