Three years ago, Indiana University announced it would give a 25 percent tuition discount to students who enrolled in summer classes.
According to IU spokesperson Mark Land, the university offered the incentive to help students graduate on time and not accumulate more student debt.
Land says the summer tuition discount was always intended to be a pilot program that the university would reevaluate after a few years of implementation.
After reviewing enrollment from the past two summers, IU decided to discontinue the discount at IU Bloomington because the amount of students enrolling in summer classes was stagnant. Instead, IU Bloomington is allowing students to take 18 credit hours per semester, up from 17 hours, and still pay the flat fee tuition rate.
The discount did drive up enrollment outside of Bloomington though.
“Especially at our regional campuses,” Land says. “Most of those students live closer to the campus anyway, they’re from the region. We’ve got folks whose schedules are less traditional.”
And more of those non-traditional students with families or full time jobs are taking advantage of a cheaper way to spread their degree out throughout the year.
IU Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke says another reason for this success is that students leave bigger campuses like IU Bloomington and Purdue University to go home for the summer and complete a few classes at a regional campus.
The Kokomo regional campus has seen a dramatic increase in summer enrollment, with a 15 percent increase in credit hours in 2012 and 13 percent increase last summer. The enrollment growth has allowed IU Kokomo to diversity their summer program options, including varying class lengths and more classes offered.“We spend a lot of time talking to our students about being that third semester, if you will, that helps them get to degree completion,” Sciame-Giesecke says.
And more students enrolling means more money for the campus, which helped add 15 new degree programs at IU Kokomo and more on the horizon.
“We have a huge nursing program here, and the hospitals within 50 miles around us really rely on our nursing programs,” Sciame-Giesecke says. “So what they’ve said to us is ‘we need that graduate nursing program’ and we’ve been able to respond because we’re growing and we have the resources to be able to add that new program.”
IU offiicals say enrollment numbers for this year are not yet available.