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PNW raises tuition by 1.4 percent

Figures+reflect+the+price+per+credit+hour+and+numbers+prior+to+2016+from+the+Hammond+campus.
Figures reflect the price per credit hour and numbers prior to 2016 from the Hammond campus.

Figures reflect the price per credit hour and numbers prior to 2016 from the Hammond campus.

photo: provided by the office of the vice chancellor for Finance & Administration

photo: provided by the office of the vice chancellor for Finance & Administration

Figures reflect the price per credit hour and numbers prior to 2016 from the Hammond campus.

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PNW raised its in-state and out-of-state tuition by 1.4 percent for the 2017-18 school year. Stephen Turner, vice chancellor of Finance and Administration, says the increase was based off of recommendations from Indiana Commission of Higher Education.

The commission was developed in 1971 to help improve Indiana state schools. The commission reviews universities’ budgets, capital budget appropriation requests and financial aid state programs. Every two years, the commission releases a budget report recommendation for state universities at the end of April. The 2017-19 budget report was released on April 27.

“When tuition goes up over time, we make sure it stays within limits so it is still affordable. We keep tuition increases in check and not a burden for students,” Turner said. “We are a one institution with identical fees and policies. This is a modest tuition increase.”

The commission recommended PNW raise its tuition by 1.4 percent after reviewing PNW’s budget. Every two years, PNW submits a budget request to the state legislature, which is then passed to the house, senate and then state governor to determine what the budget will be for 2017-19. The commission then gives recommendations based on the budget.

Donna Adelsperger, former director of Financial Accounting and Budget Services, helped developed the budget for PNW.

“We work on a budget to see what are all the elements to run a university and present a case. It is a very detailed process and it is fully researched and reviewed,” Adelsperger said.

Adelsperger and Turner said that PNW is supported through tuition revenue and fees. Tuition continues to increase, however. Tuition for 2016-17 for an in-state undergraduate student taking a 30-credit hour course load was $7,478. For 2017-18, tuition will cost $7,582 and for 2018-19 tuition will cost $7,866. These are consistent with the commission’s recommendations, but Turner says that students can still expect tuition to continue increasing and that it is impacting universities state-wide.

“The majority of a university’s operating budget is used to pay for salaries, wages and benefits for faculty and staff. These and other costs escalate over time, making it necessary to adjust tuition,” Turner said. “We want to keep tuition affordable for students, but we also have to make sure that the lights are kept on.”

Adelsperger said that in mid-May every two years, a public hearing is held where the public can speak their opinion on tuition increase and changes in budget to PNW’s Board of Trustee. According to Adelsperger, the public’s opinion is also considered when raising tuition.

“I think the nice thing about this process is that the public can voice their opinion and we are very interested in hearing them. It’s really a recommendation to attend these public hearings,” Adelsperger said. “We don’t do it in a vacuum when deciding the budget for NWI. We look into factors of how we can help to develop a better budget to ensure budgets are precise and that they can work in the fiscal planning in West Lafayette.”

PNW is currently planning to offer banded tuition by the 2019 fiscal year. Students would instead be charged a single-tuition amount instead of by credit hour if they take 12-18 credits a semester. It will make cost of attendance cheaper and help undergraduate students graduate in four years. Banded tuition is used currently at Indiana University, Ball State University and Purdue University—West Lafayette. PNW students are still charged by credit hour.

There have also been discussions regarding the potential modifications to the tuition policy for non-residents, Turner said. No official decisions have been made regarding the specific rates or when the possible implementation would begin. These changes in tuition and fees would first have to be approved by the Board of Trustees since it is a part of PNW’s biennial budget planning process.

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