By: CHRISTINA CLARK
New tuition schedules are slated to be implemented for the fall 2016 semester, and not everyone is thrilled.
IU South Bend will join the rest of Indiana University in charging a “banded tuition.”
What that means is students who take nine credit hours or less will not see a significant increase in their tuition costs, other than the potential for a normal, slight uptick in cost. But those who enroll in 12 credit hours or more will see a more significant change.
In banded tuition, students taking between 12 and 15 credit hours are billed the same. So those taking only 12 credit hours will pay the same as those taking an extra course.
According to the IUSB website on student statistics, 71 percent of the student body is made up of full-time (enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours) undergraduates, emphasizing that the majority of IUSB students will be affected by this change in tuition scheduling.
The system is part of the 15 to Finish, an initiative encouraging students to complete their degrees more quickly.
The Indiana University Central Administration proposed the change after consulting Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and regional campuses. The Board of Trustees — nine people who govern all of Indiana University — made the decision.
“There was some lively discussion on the topic,” before deciding to implement the banded tuition, said IUSB Chancellor Terry Allison. “It’s sort of a push to students to figure out how to work less and commit more to school, as they’ll be more likely to finish. I, myself, was a poor student who’s been financially independent since I was 17. So I know that it’s tough.”
Discussion of banded tuition within the IUSB Student Government Association began last semester.
“After looking up what the banded tuition policy is, I was quite alarmed,” said SGA Senator Amanda Bogard. “I understand how banded tuition can be beneficial for larger campuses like Bloomington, but I believe that it will cause a lot of students at Indiana University South Bend problems.”
The decision, however, does not include SGA influence.
“It’s not something we have any control over,” said Senator Stephen Salisbury. “We know it will affect a good portion of our students, up to 25 percent of our student body, so we know people are going to have concerns. The best we can do is advocate for alternatives at this point.”
Salisbury acknowledges the supportive evidence behind banded tuition and initiatives like 15 to Finish.
“There is a strong body of research that indicates that the longer it takes to get your degree, the harder it is to succeed in doing so,” he said. “This policy is meant to help encourage our students to finish their degrees in a more timely manner. Whether or not that is going to be very effective for our particular population remains to be seen.”
The banded tuition will bring other changes to IUSB. According to Chancellor Allison, there will be other tradeoffs made to accommodate non-traditional students.
“We are working to offer more online options available to the commuter students,” Allison said, “it is good to be on campus and engaged.”
Students who are able to take 15 credit hours or more per semester will reap the benefits of earlier graduation and could potentially incur less debt than non-traditional or part-time students.