Ball State's Tuition Increase Could Make It Pricier Than Purdue

Jun 12, 2019

Ball State University is raising its tuition by a smaller amount than it suggested it might a few weeks ago.  But, as IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, a new fee for online classes could raise that cost significantly for some students.

Ball State University officials proposed a 1.64 percent tuition increase at a public hearing last week, which was just under the non-binding recommendation from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the Board of Trustees approved an increase of 1.25 percent for next year and 1.24 percent for the 2020-21 school year.

University President Geoff Mearns says all universities go through a balancing act when setting tuition.

“Our objective is to balance access and affordability on the one hand – and we’ve demonstrated that commitment – with a high quality educational experience that produces high graduation rates and successful outcomes professionally for our students after they graduate.”

Next year, base tuition and fees for a Hoosier resident Ball State undergraduate – that’s without room and board and books – will cost $10,020.  That’s about $900 less than attending Indiana University-Bloomington.

But it could be more than attending Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette.  Trustees there have frozen tuition for many years now.  If no increase is again approved at a meeting this Friday, it would cost an in-state undergrad $28 more to attend Ball State next year.

Out-of-state undergraduate students at Ball State will pay $26,800 next year.

Online Course Fee

And for students at Ball State taking online courses, costs next year will increase more than that.  The university is adding an online course fee of $25 per class per credit hour.  According to the school’s academic advising, the average class is worth three credits to a student’s transcripts.  If one took that class online versus on campus, it would cost $75 more.

“It’s a recognition that there are costs associated with providing that educational experience,” says university president Mearns.

Mearns says while the fee is new to Ball State, many state colleges and colleges in the university’s athletic conference already have something similar.

“If you were to blend the two – both that fee as well as our tuition – we’re still within that 1.65 [percent] voluntary target that the commission set.”

According to information for prospective students, Ball State offers 28 degrees – both bachelor’s and advanced programs – that can be attained completely online.

Ball State officials say 90 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduate students receive at least some scholarships and grants to cover tuition.  That financial help, which does not include student loans, totaled more than $35 million last year.