Dear Friend of Indiana University,

At first glance, it will seem counter-intuitive that in a year when Indiana University raises tuition and fees by anywhere from 3.5 to 5.5 percent, the average out-of-pocket cost paid by Indiana resident students seeking bachelor’s degrees will actually drop by a significant amount. 

But that indeed is the case at IU for the upcoming academic year because we have been so successful in finding additional grant and scholarship money for Indiana students.  In fact, IU is now the most affordable of all Big Ten universities, according to the Department of Education’s new College Navigator Web tool.

This fall, we expect to enroll some 54,400 full-time Hoosier undergraduate students at our seven campuses. Our financial models show that, on average, the out of pocket costs their families will pay for tuition and fees will drop to less than $2,300 per student, from $2,840 this past year.

It is important to note that this number represents the average drop among all our students. The precise amount will be different for each student, depending on what type of grants he or she has qualified for. We offer Hoosier students a number of automatic scholarships, of which some are based on merit and some on need.

And because of the generosity of our alumni and friends, we are seeing substantial increases in the numbers of targeted scholarships available from donated funds. 

Thanks in large part to our recently completed Matching the Promise capital campaign, grants to in-state undergraduates at IU Bloomington will increase by an average of $1,100 per student this fall, growing to an average of $6,953. All in all, more than 70 percent of IU Bloomington’s in-state undergraduate students will be receiving one or more grants to help cover the cost of their education.

The on-going IMPACT campaign at IUPUI is helping that campus increase grants to Hoosier students by nearly 17 percent, to $5,300 per student this fall. Across all of our campuses, grants provided to in-state undergraduates will increase by an average of $950 per student this fall, growing to $5,941.

Keeping IU Affordable

I am pleased to report this because keeping IU affordable to all qualified Indiana students is of the highest priority to us. These data show we are having considerable success at this despite the enormous financial pressures facing us.

This fall, we expect to see a $51.8 million increase in financial aid grants across our seven campuses, bringing the total available for this purpose to $323.4 million. That is a remarkable 19 percent increase from the year just completed.

That will no doubt surprise many of our critics who were disappointed with us for initiating a temporary repair and maintenance fee on top of our increases to cover operational costs.

At IU Bloomington, this fee amounts to $90 a semester and, at IUPUI, $80 a semester. At our five regional campuses in Gary, Kokomo, New Albany, Richmond, and South Bend, it will be $30 a semester.
We are sympathetic to the concerns about raising tuition at a time when so many families have been hit by financial hardship. However, we are also faced with a complete cutoff of state funding for repair and maintenance of our buildings for the next two years, and we could not postpone this much-needed work. 

We currently have a maintenance backlog of more than $600 million. Instituting a student fee—as many other colleges and universities do—was the only option open to us. All of this money will be sequestered into campus funds that can only be used for necessary repair and maintenance work to our many buildings and infrastructure, and we are also committing additional funds at IU Bloomington because of the repair needs on so many of that campus’ historic buildings.


As has always been the case in deciding how best to finance our university operations, the key question is:  How do we balance the financial needs of students and their families against the need both to preserve the university’s infrastructure and to maintain the affordability and accessibility that is expected of the state’s flagship university?

This year, we sought an answer that is two-fold. We made the budgetary decisions that will ensure adequate funding to meet our needs, yet we have also greatly expanded the financial resources available to Hoosier students and their families. I am confident that, in this combination approach, we have chosen a course that in the long term will best serve the needs of the state of Indiana and its citizens.

Yours sincerely,

Michael A. McRobbie