The Indiana Commission for Higher Education wants the state to increase its financial support of colleges and universities as a way to help keep tuition increases down. Lawmakers say higher ed funding will be a high priority in the upcoming budget session of the Indiana General Assembly.
The Commission for Higher Education’s recommendation, presented to the State Budget Committee Monday, calls for $255 million for higher education funding in the next state budget, a seven-and-a-half percent increase over the previous two years. Democratic Representative and budget committee member Terry Goodin (D-Austin) says spending more on higher ed should keep tuition increases down.
“In the last several years with the increases in the tuition that’s been taken on by the universities, they’ve been very clear on why they were increasing the tuitions – it’s because the state had been cutting back on their funding,” Goodin says.
House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says as the legislature sorts through how to spend the state’s money, higher education funding is key.
“We’re wanting to look at an educated workforce,” Brown says. “We know an educated workforce is more engaged. There’s lots of positive benefits economically and socially to an educated workforce.”
The Commission’s budget commendations are paired with a call for colleges and universities to keep tuition increases at or below growth of the Consumer Price Index — so tuition would grow at approximately the same rate as, for instance, the cost of milk and bread.