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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
At IPFW, where students cross a wintry campus Friday, budget cuts and tuition hikes are possible.

At IPFW, fiscal scene gloomy

A tuition freeze, like the one Purdue University President Mitch Daniels announced Friday, is an unlikely option for IPFW, university officials said.

Daniels is calling for a two-year tuition freeze, minus an already approved fee increase.

But budget woes for IPFW, a regional campus of Purdue University, have caused the campus to look at cuts, which could include layoffs.

And with 60 percent of IPFW’s revenue generated from tuition and fees, the university will consider a tuition hike.

“We’ve been looking at a combination of things, trying to decide what to do,” said Walt Branson, IPFW vice chancellor for financial affairs.

The university has already ordered departments to prepare potential cuts. IPFW is facing a minimum budget deficit of $4.2 million, which is mostly due to declining enrollment and rising annual costs. The shortfall could rise as high as $9 million depending on the amount of state funding the university receives when the legislature finalizes its two-year budget.

Branson said university officials are looking at ideas to retain students and education costs as they develop a balanced budget.

“We are concerned about affordability, there’s no question about that.”

He said officials have discussed linking tuition to retention – offering incentives to students who remain in school versus those who come in and out. A 2.5 percent tuition increase last school year raised what students pay to about $250 per credit hour.

Any tuition increase requires a public hearing and approval from Purdue’s Board of Trustees, which would happen in May.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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