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Daniels To Ask For Tuition Freeze's 4th Year, 3.5% Salary Increases

Wes Jackson

Purdue President Mitch Daniels will ask the school's trustees to extend the school's tuition freeze and allocate 3.5-percent more for salaries in the coming year.

The requests are subject to trustee approval, but Daniels tells WBAA he doesn't expect any roadblocks.

Biggest Increase In The Big Ten?

The salary increase is considerably more than Purdue employees have received in recent years, but there are several conditions.

Daniels says each department and school within the University will be responsible for doling out the cash as that unit's head sees fit.

Also, one-seventh of each department's increase comes with a caveat: efficiencies and cost-saving measures must first be identified before the final half-percent of the raises is awarded, which the president breaks down into three categories:

"Reduction of high-paid administrative positions, a better utilization of our capital plant -- our space -- and better differentiation of the best performance from the worst," Daniels says.

Any department that doesn't find ways to save money will see its half-percent spread among the departments that do find ways to eliminate waste and duplication of effort.

Daniels says he hopes academic departments will encourage administrators -- many of whom are also faculty members -- to go back to teaching full-time and give up extra stipends many are paid for taking on managerial duties. And he wants more differentiation between the raises given to top employees and pay hikes for those who aren't meeting expectations.

"It's not fair that the best performers get treated more or less the same as those who really aren't doing their part," Daniels says. "And it's not right for those who aren't doing their part to just drift along."

Daniels says an analysis of past pay increases shows a tendency toward giving most employees the same percentage increase -- a practice he hopes to phase out.

Purdue will also increase its minimum wage for full-time employees to $10 per hour -- both for current employees and those hired in the future.

A Graduating Class With No Tuition Hikes

A fourth consecutive year of frozen tuition would mean members of the class of 2016 paid the same for  classes every year they attended Purdue. Daniels has said repeatedly in the past he doesn't know how many years the freeze can continue, and some worry several years of freezes will lead to larger cost hikes the next time tuition is raised.

Purdue will offset some incremental cost increases to the school by enlarging its freshman class. Daniels had previously said he hopes to add several hundred students to the class of 2020, and he believes admission numbers for the incoming cohort will allow the math to work.

The school has also increased the number of out-of-state and international students who attend each year -- students who pay about three times what an in-state student is charged (meaning Purdue needs only one-third as many of these students to keep its balance sheet the same as if all of them had graduated from Indiana high schools).

This has led to more out-of-state students at Purdue than in-state students. That's different than Indiana University, where 55-percent of all students are native Hoosiers, and vastly different from Ball State, where more than three-fourths of all students hail from Indiana.