By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer
— Indiana University unveiled a program Tuesday that will provide tuition incentives to students who are on track to graduate on time.
Beginning next year, IU will effectively freeze tuition for students after their sophomore year if they are on track to graduate in four years.
According to the university, qualified students will receive an on-time completion award equal to any increase in tuition and fees that they would otherwise incur during their final two years at IU.
“We have clearly heard the message from our students and their families that cost matters to them when it comes to pursuing a college degree,” University President Michael McRobbie said during his state of the university address. “But any efforts to keep an IU education affordable also must include efforts to improve on-time graduation rates, which also effectively lowers the cost of earning a degree.”
This is the second initiative IU launched in the past year to address issues of cost and degree attainment.
Last October, the university lowered summer school tuition by 25 percent. That saved students nearly $12 million and increased summer school attendance.
These new programs prove that the university has taken college affordability very seriously, said Indiana University Kokomo Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke.
“We understand how families are struggling,” she said.
The interim chancellor said she hopes the new incentive will motivate younger students to get to their junior and senior years and allow juniors and seniors to work less and focus more on their upper-level courses.
“That’s key for our region,” Sciame-Giesecke said. “We have so many students working.”
The Kokomo campus piloted its own tuition incentive program in the fall of 2011. Forty students were selected to participate in it.
The program allowed a student to earn a four-year degree at the price of three years. Students had to commit to taking 30 credit hours per year, maintain continuous enrollment and be making satisfactory academic progress.
Only a few students remain in the pilot program, Sciame-Giesecke said. But it’s been converted to a scholarship program for those students and won’t be launched campus-wide, she said.
The Kokomo campus will focus instead on the two university-wide initiatives.
“They benefit all students,” Sciame-Giesecke said. “We’re excited about it.”