Indiana’s public universities made their funding requests to Senate legislators Tuesday as that chamber’s budget hearings are underway.
The state’s Commission for Higher Education began the hearing by telling lawmakers the number of people completing degrees is up 15 percent over the last five years.
The university presidents emphasized that progress. Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says his institution’s online classes are a major factor.
“More than 30,000 IU students are enrolled in at least one online course … that’s about a third of the total student body of the university,” McRobbie says.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels used his pitch to emphasize his university’s continued push toward lowering the cost to students.
“Last year, I was very pleased when we saw that 58 percent of our graduates left with zero debt,” Daniels says.
Ball State President Geoff Mearns related that idea of value to the state as a whole.
“More than 70 percent of our graduates stay in the state of Indiana,” Mearns says.
The House version of the budget increases university funding less than the Commission for Higher Education recommends. The Senate budget draft will come out in the next few weeks.