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"It's very important to earn a degree, but it's also important to recognize that Purdue and IU have franchise value." -- Vic Lechtenberg, acting provost at Purdue University

IPFW needs structural change, not freedom, legislators told

INDIANAPOLIS – Those speaking at a legislative study committee Tuesday regarding IPFW's future seemed to agree that a complete separation from Indiana University and Purdue University would be going too far.

Instead, several current and former university officials talked of structural changes within the current governance that could give IPFW more independence while maintaining the value of diplomas from the state's two flagship universities.

"There is recognition that quality matters," said Vic Lechtenberg, acting provost at Purdue University. "Not all institutions are perceived in equal value. It's very important to earn a degree, but it's also important to recognize that Purdue and IU have franchise value."

The topic was before the Select Commission on Education, chaired by Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn – a 1964 graduate of IPFW.

He noted the IPFW regional campus is sometimes treated like a stepchild and would like to move up to a better status.

IPFW is among the largest public universities in the state with nearly 14,000 students this year.

Purdue University currently provides administrative oversight of the regional IPFW campus, with students able to get degrees from both Indiana and Purdue, depending on the program.

Local legislators for years have made a case that IPFW doesn't get adequate funding and support from the main West Lafayette campus.

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, said the discussion "got the ball rolling." and he thinks legislative efforts to give IPFW more independence will continue in the 2013 session.

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