DePauw, IU Leaders Say Purdue Tuition Freeze Won't Change Their Plans

May 15, 2014

DePauw's sticker price is more than twice what Purdue's is, but university officials say they're competing on more than just price.
Credit Karen Demerly / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kdemerly/5137982135

Leaders at some of Indiana’s other universities say they’re keeping an eye on Purdue’s plan to freeze tuition for a third year, but it’s not impacting them.

The plan will be formally presented to Purdue Trustees Friday morning by President Mitch Daniels, who says he’s not sure how long the school will continue the practice. It keeps Purdue’s overall cost lower than most, if not all, of the state’s private colleges.

But DePauw University Associate Vice President for Communications Jonathan Coffin says even though Purdue will generate headlines from the move, he believes students and parents choose colleges on other platforms than just cost.

“College presidents, whether they’re at Purdue or at DePauw or at Indiana University, certainly have influence," Coffin says. "But I think there are a whole lot of other factors that come into these decisions.”

Indiana University spokesman Mark Land says though Purdue’s blanket freeze is a tactic used at few universities, it’s not as though there aren’t similar programs in place at other Indiana schools – some of which force students to have buy-in to the process.

“Many of our students, juniors and seniors, won’t see any tuition increase over their last two years because we’ve got a program that’s now entering its second year that we call “Finish in Four” that says if you’re on pace to graduate in four years, after your sophomore year we’re going to hold your tuition steady for as long as you remain on pace to graduate,” Land says.

The tuition freeze has kept Purdue’s income flat over the past two years, but it’s changed the mix of students at the school in order to make that happen. There are now more students from out-of-state attending classes on the West Lafayette campus than there are Hoosier students. Those out-of-state and international students have had their tuition kept flat for the last two years as well, but they still pay three times what in-state students do.

Daniels says he expects little to no resistance from the Trustees, whom he says are committed to spending restraint.