Dear Friend of Indiana University,

I am pleased to share the details of an important new university initiative that we announced recently that will have a significant positive impact on many of our students and their families, starting in 2012.

Late last month, our Board of Trustees voted to implement a plan put forward by the university administration to dramatically reduce undergraduate tuition rates for students enrolled in classes during the summer across all of our seven campuses.

Indiana resident students will receive a 25 percent tuition decrease while non-resident students will see an equivalent dollar reduction in tuition. Students taking a full course load during the summer can save up to $1,050, starting next year.

Our plan, perhaps the broadest and deepest of its kind among U.S. universities, has been very well received by students, parents, and faculty alike. In addition, it has drawn wide support from the state’s legislative and higher education leaders.

Indeed, I had the pleasure of being joined at our public announcement of the tuition discount plan by Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, who praised the university for its commitment to students and their families during these challenging economic times. Likewise, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels immediately called upon other colleges and universities in the state to follow IU’s lead in lowering tuition in this way.

The significant savings potential for our plan has drawn much of the attention, as well as the lion’s share of the praise, and we are pleased to be able to offer this financial relief to many of our students and their families. At the same time, however, we view this initiative as much more than a simple tuition reduction.

For more than 200 years, the U.S. academic calendar has largely reflected an agrarian culture, with summers used as a time to work for students. By providing a meaningful incentive for more students to enroll in classes during the summer, we make more efficient use of our facilities during a time when many of them sit largely idle.

More important, by encouraging our students to take advantage of the inherent flexibility in our academic calendar, we can help them graduate sooner and with less debt. This plan also can provide the incentive students need to better align their academic schedules with the global workplace of the 21st century where internship or other work opportunities are available year-round.

As I said in my most recent State of the University address, these are extremely challenging financial times for public universities as well as for many of our students. At Indiana University we are committed to rising to meet these challenges in a way that ensures that we retain our position as a place where affordability and academic excellence are not mutually exclusive. 

Our tuition discount plan is an important step in our effort to rethink what it means to be a public university in the 21st century and to strengthen the role we play in the lives of our students and our state. It will not be the last, however, and I look forward to providing regular updates to you as we continue this important work.

As always, your support of Indiana University is very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Michael A. McRobbie