The leaders of Indiana’s colleges and universities were called to the statehouse Thursday to appear before the budget committee. The university presidents were asked to justify recent tuition increases, which exceeded the recommendations of the state Commission on Higher Education.
Each university president told the committee essentially the same thing. While they took into account the commission’s recommendations and while affordability is a major concern, the tuition increases reflected what each school needs to continue operating at an effective level.
Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley told the committee that independence from overreaching legislative control is an important component of success for the institutions.
“I would strongly encourage you all to very carefully consider any change in that behavior because it has resulted in a fabulous system of higher education in Indiana,” he said.
But budget chairman Jeff Espich said the relationship between the legislature and the universities is like that of a parent and a teenager.
“Your teenager can be independent of the parent so long as they’re acting responsibly,” he said. “But when they start to misbehave, they get a little more supervision.”
Espich says Thursday’s hearing is just the start of a long process and that no decisions on any legislative action have been made.