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State Budget Committee Leader Backs ISU’s Tuition Rollback

Two years ago, State Budget Committee Chairman and Noblesville State Senator Luke Kenley threatened to withhold $53 million in funding from Indiana and Purdue Universities if they did not scale back their proposed price hikes for students. IU responded by instituting a scholarship for students who maintain a B average.

It was the first skirmish in an ongoing battle over tuition hikes as the state struggles through a weak economy. IU and Purdue complied with recommendations from the state’s Commission on Higher Education this year and decided to increase tuition the maximum amount the Commission suggested.

Indiana State is one of the first public schools in the state to peg its tuition hike to the cost of living index – a move which sits well with Kenley.

“This shows a very cooperative attitude on their part and will help them when it comes to budget time,” Kenley says.  “And I know that I will feel very much more committed to try to help Indiana State with whatever the state can do when we do our budget two years from now.”

So will IU, for several years now a target of scorn for the State Budget Committee, respond in kind?

“We’re not taking our cues from what anyone else is doing,” says IU spokesman Mark Land, who adds IU officials speak frequently with Kenley and the other members of his committee. “We are doing what we think is best for the University. We’re not always maybe seeing eye-to-eye on some things, but the relationship is we’re working constructively with them and will continue to do so.”

Indiana State Vice President for Business Affairs and Finance Diann McKee says the school will forfeit about $1 million because of the tuition rollback.  She could not say whether that will impact the school’s ability to offer raises to its faculty and staff.

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