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March 18, 2013

Daniels lays out first steps in meeting Purdue tuition freeze

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Monday (March 18) announced initial cost-saving measures to help increase college affordability and offset the $40 million financial impact of a two-year tuition freeze at the university's West Lafayette campus.

The university will eliminate merit pay raises over the next two fiscal years for all senior administrators, deans and administrative/professional staff with salaries above $50,000. The initiative, expected to save approximately $5 million over the biennium, will not apply to faculty, staff with salaries below $50,000, and all clerical and service staff.

"It has been too easy in higher education for institutions to decide first what they would like to spend, and then raise student bills to produce the desired funds. That approach has run its course," Daniels wrote in a letter to employees outlining the university's plans. "At Purdue, we will make our first goal affordability, accommodating our spending to students' budgets and not the other way around."

Daniels said additional decisions about reductions and savings would be coming in the following weeks and would center around assessing expenditures and practices across all central university units and that every academic, administrative and auxiliary unit would be asked to closely examine all activities and associated costs.

To create efficiencies, he encouraged looking at practices on campus that perhaps once served a purpose but no longer do or seizing opportunities to centralize functions that might currently be taking place in multiple locations. Daniels stressed that activities should support Purdue's core missions of teaching, research, engagement and affordable access.

All savings will be credited to a newly created Student Affordability and Accessibility Account, he said.

Daniels said the anticipated $40 million budgetary impact from the tuition freeze represents 1 percent to 2 percent of the university's base budget over the biennium and that Purdue should not only be capable of meeting that amount, but of exceeding it.

"I believe we should set our sights higher and work to create savings above the $40 million that can be used to augment our inadequate funds for scholarships and/or to extend the tuition freeze further," he wrote.

"With everyone's support and cooperation, we can assert boldly that, regardless of what others may do, Purdue will stay true to its land-grant mission, delivering the education our state and nation needs most to students from any income level or background."

The freeze on tuition and most fees was announced March 1, marking the first time since 1976 without an increase.

Contact: Chris Sigurdson, assistant vice president for external relations, 765-496-2644, sig@purdue.edu

Related information:
Full text of President Daniels' letter
(pdf)