Photo: Luiz Gadelha Jr. (flickr)
Lawmakers next week will begin to study whether the regional campuses of Indiana’s major public universities should get more freedom and autonomy.
There are nine regional campuses across the state between Indiana and Purdue Universities, including the two largest – IUPUI and IPFW.
Columbia City Republican Senator Jim Banks says a study committee will examine whether the legislature should help untangle what he calls a convoluted governance structure.
He says the discussion needs to take place because the regional campuses are losing out on opportunities.
“Whether that might be creating new degree programs or it might be funding for specific projects – oftentimes what’s good for IPFW in Fort Wayne might not be good for Purdue University in West Lafayette so there’s somewhat of an inherent conflict,” Banks says.
But Bloomington Democratic Representative Matt Pierce says the biggest problem with allowing the regional campuses to become independent would be funding.
“If you create more separate, stand-alone institutions then you’ve got more people fighting – if not shrinking – the piece of pie,” Pierce says.
Banks says a solution may not require legislation but he’s hoping the study committee will help accelerate the discussion.