McRobbie Says Inflation Not A Good Way To Measure IU Costs

Speaking on WFIU's Noon Edition, IU President Michael McRobbie said the university's costs are often higher than the traditional inflation rate.

President McRobbie

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

IU President Michael McRobbie appeared on Noon Edition on Friday, March 23.

Indiana University has been going back and forth with legislators about the amount of money the state appropriates to the university each year.

The percent of IU’s budget that is funded by the state has decreased more than 30 percent over the past twenty years, according to IU. Last fall, Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said the cuts seem larger because IU is increasing its budget more than the rate of inflation.

“If they’re always going to raise tuition at two or three times the rate of inflation, and we [the state] are just funding at the rate of inflation, we’ll always be what appears to be a smaller piece of the pie,” he said.

But IU officials say these claims don’t take into account several key factors. Speaking on WFIU’s Noon Edition, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie said the inflation rate is measured by the consumer price index or CPI, and that is not a good measure of education costs.

“CPI basically measures the cost in the basket of super market goods. We’re not a supermarket,” McRobbie said. “When you look at the cost drivers of a university, there are probably three major areas.”

Those areas, he said are faculty retention and recruitment, information technology, and health care. McRobbie said these drivers don’t fall in line with the inflation rate. And even during the recession, these costs were going up.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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