IUP shifting away from flat-rate tuition
Indiana University of Pennsylvania will replace its flat-rate tuition for state residents with a per-credit charge that will boost the sticker price for many students this fall.
IUP President Michael Driscoll said the university will go through with the changes in the tuition structure it approved for undergraduate students but postponed implementing last fall.
It won’t be clear how much the plan will increase costs until the board of governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education approves tuition rates for 2016-17.
But Driscoll estimated that with a 7 percent discount that will be extended to all full-time Pennsylvania residents, it will add about $565 a year to the tab for students taking 15 credit hours a semester.
The university, which is projecting declining enrollment and the prospect of increased labor costs next year, needs to boost revenues to close an anticipated $15 million budget deficit in 2016-17.
The pricing plan is part of a three-prong effort to balance the school’s budget. Driscoll said IUP officials are targeting cost reductions and programs to boost enrollment.
Although only one of Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities — Millersville — has adopted per-credit pricing, Driscoll said schools across the nation are looking to that model.
“IUP’s per-credit tuition model increases fairness — students pay for the credits that they take,” Driscoll said. “Student behaviors have changed, and we need a new and more equitable model to meet the needs of both our current and future students.”
Like students at 12 of Pennsylvania’s other state-owned universities, IUP students paid flat tuition of $7,060 this year to take anywhere from 12 to 17.9 credit hours a semester.
Driscoll said that meant students taking 12 credit hours a semester — the minimum required to be considered a full-time student — subsidized those taking a heavier load.
He said it contributed to students scheduling unnecessary classes and then withdrawing from them, leaving empty seats that he estimated add $3 million a year to costs.
The new tuition pricing schedule includes a series of discounts for full-time, in-state students designed to ease its impact: a 7 percent discount in 2016-17, 4 percent the following year and 1 percent in the third year.
The university will offer two new financial aid programs beginning next fall: the Academic Success Initiative, based on achievement, and a need-based grant.
Driscoll said IUP settled on the new tuition pricing plan as the most equitable way to tackle rising costs after meetings with the university’s students, faculty and council of trustees.
Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer.She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.