Recently the Purdue University Board of Trustees, under the guidance of the University's new President Mitch Daniels, implemented a freeze on any further tuition increase for the next two years. The argument presented at the time is that this will cost Purdue $40 million. The freeze only applied to West Lafayette and not the regional campuses.
In reality does this have any consequences for higher education costs or is this just an event with no substance but much fan fare? Much as Daniels performed at OMB when he directed that budget agency.
At first glance it would seem that this is a courageous drive to be one of the first to limit the cost to students and their parents of higher education. But is that really the case here?
Let us be perfectly clear. Anytime that tuition does not go up cannot be bad. It is a good. The question we have here is, is it a long term good; and is it intended to do what is claimed that it is supposed to do.
The $40 million dollars this move supposedly cost Purdue was never money Purdue actually had. It is "theoretical" money so nothing was reduced or taken away. In fact, the 2-3% increase in Hoosier State funding, tax payers money, that was provided to Purdue by far exceeded any $40 million, and the Hoosier tax funds are real money. Overall, for the next two years, Purdue University is doing very very well with the increase in Indiana tax payer funding. But waite, this is solely for West Lafayette. How did this happen? Purdue University's request for tax payer funds for Fort Wayne campus and for the Hammond campus were dashed and significantly reduced. The only increase was for the Purdue North Central campus, its smallest regional campus. Was this an accident or the result of exactly what West Lafayette wanted? Common cynics, what do you think?
Purdue's campuses in Fort Wayne and in Hammond will not only see less tax payer money, they will also see an increase in the tuition charged to all students. Has anyone so far seen anything that in fact helps students with their higher education costs? Or are cost realy going up under some new and different names?
In December of 2012, Timothy Sands, then Acting President of Purdue University, and the Chancellors of Fort Wayne and Calumet (Hammond) all agreed that the majority of Hoosier students attend regional campuses (of IU and Purdue) and it is the regional campuses that have the real economic impact on the Hoosier State. One easy example is the one they refrenced. About 90% of regional campus students remain in Indiana; very few students at Purdue West Lafayette will ever remain in Indiana to provide economic value. The value to Hoosier tax payers is putting money into the regional campuses NOT West Lafayette or Bloomington. The actual distribution of money per student is provided here: Funding per FTE per Indiana Higher Ed Campus by the Chancellor of Fort Wayne to the Purdue Board of Trustees. As everyone can see the least amount of tax dollars go to most of the Hoosier students. Anyone think that the Trustees or the State Legislature did not know about this? I know they did because I was there testifying to the House and the Senate about this bias against Indiana as a Hoosier TaxPayer.
What else is going on in West Lafayette (and Bloomington)? The irony is that most of the undergraduate students at West Lafayette are either out-of-state or foreign students. Purdue West Lafayette prides itself in having the highest number of undergraduate foreign students. In West Lafayette and Bloomington about half the students have no history Indiana and they will leave (brain drain). University of Illinois, no. 5 in the nation for undergraduates according to US News & World Report, has just reached 20% none resident students. Purdue and IU do not even crack the top ten.
Mitch Daniels may yet do what he said he would and what Hoosier tax payers want him to do. He has not yet. So far it has been mostly hype with little substance.