Purdue officials propose tuition freeze for fourth straight year, 3.5 percent merit pay increase

May 15, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (May 15) endorsed a proposed tuition freeze for resident, nonresident and international students at the West Lafayette campus through the next two academic years, making a total of four years of no change in base tuition after 36 consecutive years of increases.

At the same time, the board endorsed the proposed conceptual operating budget for fiscal year 2016, which will provide for a 3.5 percent merit pay increase for employees at West Lafayette, with 0.5 percent of that conditional on each unit implementing a plan to streamline administrative costs, rationalize space utilization and provide appropriate recognition of strong performers in the distribution of the merit increase. In addition, the proposal calls for entry-level wages to be increased to $10 per hour for all benefits-eligible clerical and service staff.

The measure will now go to the Executive Committee for final approval on May 27.

"Student affordability and steady investment in teaching and research excellence are not only reconcilable but complementary,” said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels. “Serious attention to efficiency is the key to advancing both these goals.”

In keeping affordability and quality at the forefront, Purdue will continue to invest in programs aimed at improving the academic experience. Projects focused on Purdue Moves initiatives and academic resources for students are integral to the proposed budget, with new investments of more than $18 million in those targeted areas.

Under the proposal, over the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, tuition and fees will remain the same at West Lafayette with resident students paying $10,002 and out-of-state students paying $28,804. International students enrolled in summer 2012 or after will pay $30,804.

Several fees at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus will remain flat or be eliminated under the proposal, including overall flat rates on meal plans and student housing for the 2015-16 academic year. In addition, the $200 fee for credit-bearing internship/co-op/industrial practice will be eliminated.

New in the 2015-16 academic year will be a computer science differential fee for “new to campus” students. The per-year fee will be equal to the existing engineering differential fee of $2,050 for undergraduate students and $1,124 for graduate students. Current students will be exempt from the fee.

Three previously approved fees will be instituted for the system-wide Doctor of Nursing Practice program: $725 per credit hour for Indiana residents, $950 per credit hour for nonresidents and $100 per credit hour for up to six residency/practical courses.

Purdue's tuition and fees currently rank fourth lowest out of 13 public Big Ten universities for resident undergraduates and seventh for nonresident students.

Tuition at Purdue’s regional campuses will follow the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s recommended increase of up to 1.65 percent for the 2015-16 academic year, except at Purdue North Central. Tuition at the Westville, Indiana, campus will increase only 0.4 percent in order to align its tuition with Purdue Calumet in anticipation of the formation of Purdue Northwest. Purdue regional campuses (Purdue Northwest and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne) will increase tuition 1.65 percent during the 2016-17 academic year.

Fees for students at Purdue’s regional campuses are assessed on a per-credit-hour basis. The rates for resident and nonresident undergraduate students, respectively, are:

* Purdue Calumet – $245.30 and $554.15 in 2015-16.

* Purdue North Central – $245.25 and $583.85 in 2015-16.

* Purdue Northwest – $249.25 and $563.15 in 2016-17.

* IPFW – $269.30 and $646.90 in 2015-16, $273.75 and $657.55 in 2016-17.

In addition, the regional campuses will implement differential fees for the STEM programs of business, engineering, nursing and technology beginning with the 2015-16 academic year for IPFW and the 2016-17 academic year for Purdue Northwest. The IPFW differential fees will be course-assessed per credit hour for all students, while the Purdue Northwest differential fees will be assessed to “new to campus” students on a per semester basis.

The conceptual general fund budget for fiscal year 2016 supports educational and operating expenditures and is based on operating appropriations contained in the state’s 2015-17 biennial spending plan. The state appropriation was down 1.1 percent for West Lafayette to $242.2 million, up 0.7 percent for Purdue Calumet, up 1.4 percent for Purdue North Central and up 0.7 percent for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Trustees endorsed the following general fund spending plans for fiscal year 2016:

* At the West Lafayette campus: $1.045 billion, funded primarily from existing revenues and reallocations.

* At Purdue Calumet: $86.7 million.

* At Purdue North Central: $36.6 million.

* At IPFW: $111.5 million.

As part of the West Lafayette budget, pay for faculty and staff will increase by an average of 3.5 percent, based entirely on merit. Each campus unit will receive 3 percent to distribute as it wishes in employee salaries. The final 0.5 percent increase will be conditional, based on the unit supporting institution-wide objectives: reduction of highly-paid administration positions and/or expenses, better utilization of university physical capacity, and reasonable differentiation of pay increases to reward more fully the best performers. Each unit is free to devise its own plan for fulfilling this condition, subject only to verification of adequacy by the treasurer’s office.

The program for the additional 0.5 percent is voluntary. Any unit that decides not to take part still will receive the 3 percent pool; its additional 0.5 percent will be added pro rata to the budgets of participating units.

In addition, the president, deans, executive vice presidents, vice presidents, vice provosts and other officers of equivalent level will forgo a merit increase. Pay increases for other administrators earning $150,000 or more will be permitted, but are subject to approval of the chief financial officer.

Entry-level wages will be increased to $10 per hour for all clerical and service jobs not already above that level; and the pay ranges for current clerical and service staff will be adjusted as well to reflect the increase in the entry level range.

The board will conduct a public hearing at 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 27, regarding proposed tuition and fees for students attending any of the university's campuses during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years. This will be a special meeting of the board’s Executive Committee in which the committee will act on behalf of the board and will vote on the fee proposal and the 2015-16 system-wide conceptual budget. The meeting will be in Stewart Center, Room 326, on the West Lafayette campus.

The public will have a chance to comment during the meeting, and a videoconference connection also will allow public input from Purdue's regional campuses.

Those wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the Office of the Board of Trustees in advance at 765-494-9710 or e-mail trustees@purdue.edu. A summary of the fee proposal is available online. Each speaker will be scheduled in the order they register and allotted three minutes to make comments at the hearing, which will last 30 minutes.

Written comments also may be submitted via e-mail or sent to the Office of the Board of Trustees, Hovde Hall, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Anyone wanting to offer testimony at one of the statewide campuses should contact that campus for directions to the videoconference location. Those locations and phone numbers are:

* Purdue Calumet: Room with a View, SULB 150-D, 219-989-2040.

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne: Kettler Hall, Room 178, 260-481-6100.

* Purdue North Central: Library-Student-Faculty Building, Room 002, 219-785-5511. 

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