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Administration Considers Banded Tuition Model

Written by: Bernadette BeckerFebruary 02, 2017

For some students tuition may be rising.

For others, it may be falling.

Another group of students may find it doesn’t change.

This isn’t a riddle — it’s the paradox of banded tuition, a model IPFW is considering. With the banded tuition, students pay a flat rate in a certain range of credit hours rather than pay per-credit-hour tuition.

Assistant Director of Physical Plant Fiscal Affairs Steve George presented the banded tuition proposal to faculty, staff and students on Jan. 23. The goal of the presentation was to solicit feedback from those who will be impacted by the potential tuition changes.

Banded tuition became a popular Indiana topic in 2014, when The Indiana Commission for Higher Education adopted a resolution urging Indiana’s universities to consider it as a way of enabling students to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years.

Only 30 percent of Hoosiers complete bachelor’s degrees in four years, George stated, citing ICHE. The aim of banded tuition is to keep costs from rising too much but still encourage students to take advantage of an extra class or two in the credit-hour range.

Graduating in four years can reduce the overall cost of a degree. For every additional semester spent in school, students pay extra semesters’ tuition and fees, plus the lost money they could have earned in the workforce. Estimates for the total cost of an extra year of school vary, but the Federal Reserve Bank of New York approximated it is $65,000.

Since ICHE urged institutions to adopt this model, IPFW and Purdue Northwest are the only four-year public campuses in Indiana that have not transitioned to a banded tuition model. The current proposal would take effect in Fall 2018.

The new IU Fort Wayne campus (the three health sciences transferring over from Purdue) will operate on banded tuition since all IU system schools already follow that model.

“This is our opportunity to make it our own rather than what they hand you,”  George said before the presentation, speaking about why IPFW chose to move toward banded tuition anticipating that the state might step in.

The committee in charge of the proposal began at the end of Spring 2016 and was comprised of faculty, staff and one student.

The IPFW proposal includes a removal of the online class fee, which currently adds $92.95 per credit hour to a student’s total tuition. However, there will be an increase of the technology fee by $0.95 per credit hour in order to offset the rising cost of software and the falling enrollment revenue.

IPFW’s banded tuition proposal will cover a range of 12 to 18 credits with additional cost for credit hours exceeding 18. The banded tuition would not extend to graduate students or summer courses, and would not allow hours from the fall or spring semester for use in the summer.

Course differential fees, lab fees and possible tuition increases are not taken into account by the banded tuition model, George said. Those taking fewer than 12 credit hours will be charged on a per-credit-hour basis, and this proposal would not impact federal or school financial aid packages.

The current proposal’s banded tuition rates would place IPFW as the second lowest costing  public four-year institution, just ahead of the other IU regional campuses (who instituted banded tuition this past fall).

Director of Administrative Business Services Diana Jackson, who worked on the committee, said, the goal is for this initiative to remain “revenue neutral” rather than being a new source of revenue and an added expense for the students.

Questions, concerns or input can be sent to Diana Jackson at her email: jacksond@ipfw.edu.