The chief financial officer of Indiana University is outlining continued efforts designed to boost affordability and on-time graduation. MaryFrances McCourt says the university's strategy includes keeping tuition increases to a minimum, fundraising campaigns focused on financial gifts and additional operational efficiencies. October 10, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana University Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer MaryFrances McCourt has updated IU trustees on recent efforts related to the university's comprehensive and pro-active strategy for lowering costs and promoting on-time graduation for students.
The strategy, which addresses demands for greater affordability and reduced student debt, is augmented by a continued focus on diversified revenue streams, institutional efficiency and the reduction of student direct cost.
“Our approach toward student affordability is comprehensive,” McCourt said. “We have gotten out ahead of these meaningful issues facing students and their families as they balance the needs of funding their higher education while they work through the continued economic stress resulting from the financial crisis. We are proud of our accomplishments to date but are committed to increasing the focus across all fronts to continue to deliver positive results.”
The university's educational affordability strategy combines the following efforts: a continued focus on environmental factors influencing ability to pay, with a balanced approach toward delivering quality education and services to keep tuition increases as low as possible; continuing the growth in funds available for gift aid through focused campaign fundraising and optimizing its impact through targeted application; and focused programming, expanded student services, and enhanced learning, planning and advising tools to continue efforts to improve on-time graduation. Work continues to enhance programming content and tools, and to expand the reach of financial literacy initiatives to continue improving student debt levels.
In addition, the university will heighten its attention to operational efficiency and the reduction of direct student costs.
In recent years, IU has introduced a number of initiatives related to affordability and financial literacy, including the summer tuition discount as well as:
MoneySmarts — a multifaceted financial literacy program that provides students with the knowledge they need to make smart financial decisions while in college.
Finish in Four — a program launched in October 2012 that effectively freezes tuition and fees for a student’s final two years, as long as the student is on track to graduate in four years after his or her sophomore year and remains on track thereafter.
Tuition increases for the current biennium that are the lowest in almost a half century, with the undergraduate tuition increase at 1.75 percent.
A new website, affordability.iu.edu, that provides detailed information about each of IU’s affordability and financial literacy initiatives.
McCourt told trustees that the university's impact to date has been notable. Tuition increases are the lowest they have been in four decades, institutional gift aid has doubled over the past seven years, students' net price on the Bloomington campus has been the lowest of its peers for several years running, and student debt has decreased by more than $31 million, or 11 percent, over the past year. In addition, she said, IU, as a system, has enjoyed the highest overall achievement on the state's performance funding formula among four-year institutions.
Source: Indiana University