Dear Friend of Indiana University,

I want to take this opportunity on behalf of Indiana University to express our sincere appreciation to Indiana policy makers who demonstrated their strong support for higher education during the recent session of the Indiana General Assembly.

The funding recommendations of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the budget passed by the Indiana legislature, which largely reflected those recommendations, demonstrate an important commitment to the teaching and research mission of public institutions such as IU.

The $30 billion budget included increased state spending on higher education for the first time since the financial crisis and recession began, and culminated what generally was the most productive and constructive legislative session for higher education in many years.

Across IU, state appropriations for university operations will increase by 3.6 percent to $469.3 million for fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1, 2013. The increases, which are based in part on a performance funding formula recommended by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and approved by the legislature, range from 0.6 percent at IU Southeast to 7.9 percent at IU East.

IU Bloomington will receive $184.8 million in state funding in the coming year, a 2.5 percent increase from this year, while IUPUI, not inclusive of the schools of medicine and dentistry, will receive $96 million, up 6.5 percent from this year. The IU School of Medicine and the IU School of Dentistry, which are exempt from the performance funding formula because of their specialized missions, will receive a combined $109.4 million in state funding next year, a 3.5 percent increase from current levels.

IU also had 11 line-item requests, all of which received funding—most at current levels. In addition, IU will receive $2.5 million from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to support research activities that specifically benefit the state of Indiana and another $1.45 million from the state to fund dual credit courses offered by Indiana high schools.

Facility and infrastructure improvements a priority

Another extremely positive development for IU is the General Assembly's decision to provide $23 million in much-needed funding for repair and rehabilitation of the university's buildings across the state. This funding is absolutely essential if IU is to protect the enormous investment the state has made in first-rate educational facilities over nearly two centuries.

In addition to providing the “R&R” funding, the state also appropriated necessary debt service to fund two major projects that were previously authorized but have not yet been approved by the state: $21 million for restoration and improvements at Franklin Hall in the “Old Crescent” part of the IU Bloomington campus, which will help return the area to its roots as the academic core of the campus, and $45 million to replace Tamarack Hall on the IU Northwest campus with a new academic facility, in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College.

IU also received $56 million in cash appropriations from the state for building repair and expansion, split almost evenly between our regional campuses and the IU School of Medicine.

We will use all of these new resources wisely for the benefit of our students and the citizens of Indiana. As a public university, we recognize that we must play a leading role in improving the welfare of our state. That role is never more clear than during this time of year, when the newest crop of IU graduates receive their diplomas and begin the next chapter in their lives—as nearly 20,000 new IU grads are doing this week.

The state's overall financial health has improved since the previous budget cycle, but IU recognizes that lawmakers faced difficult funding choices for still-scarce dollars. I want to publicly thank members of the Indiana General Assembly, and in particular those members who represent districts where IU has facilities, for their support during the recently ended session. Likewise, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has shown great leadership in recent months and should be applauded for sending a clear message that our public universities and colleges are deserving of greater state support.

While state funding for certain campuses remains at levels last seen a decade ago, the increased appropriations in the new budget also speak well of the recent work done by IU to ease the financial challenges facing many of our students. Our initiatives to reduce summer tuition, provide awards to hold constant tuition and fees for juniors and seniors on track to graduate in four years, and help our students better understand the implications of incurring debt clearly have resonated with our students, their families, and with policy makers across the state.

Implications for future tuition

IU is currently in the final stages of its own biennial budget process, which will culminate in me presenting a recommendation for tuition and fees for the next two years to our Board of Trustees at its June meeting. We have been purposely deliberate in our work to build a realistic budget for the next two years, and especially in our efforts to arrive at a tuition recommendation.

It was important to the university that we had complete clarity on IU's state appropriation for the next two years, and that we fully analyze the current and expected impact of the tuition actions we have taken over the past year, before coming to a recommendation on rates for the next two years. I can assure you, however, that the recommendation I make to the Board of Trustees will be consistent with our demonstrated commitment to both affordability and quality.

Commencement season is perhaps the most exciting and satisfying time of the year for all of us at IU. I am very pleased that the new state budget has given us yet one more reason to be optimistic as we celebrate the achievements of all of our graduates as they set forth to make their indelible mark on the world.

Again, my thanks go out to the governor, the Indiana General Assembly, and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for their strong support for higher education in this state.

And, as always, thank you for your continued support of Indiana University.

Yours sincerely,

Michael A. McRobbie