A big change has been approved for IUP. It is a change that is long overdue.
Last Friday, the IUP council of trustees approved a proposal to return the university to a flat-rate tuition. This would affect in-state, full-time undergraduate students that are taking 15 credits or more.
While the plan still needs to be finalized and completed by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), there should be no doubt that this move is a good step for IUP to take.
They way the plan would work is simple. If a student is taking 15 credits, there would be an tuition drop of $1,854 per year. This only increases if a student is taking 18 credits, as they would see a drop in tuition by $3,768 per academic year.
This price reduction will be a very beneficial thing for the university to do, and something that should have been done a while ago.
According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, IUP is the most expensive school out of the 14 universities in the state system. With factors like that, it is only natural that IUP would start hemorrhaging students. Other universities offer programs that IUP made cuts to, and for less money.
For example, Edinboro University still offers both a journalism major and the courses associated with it. That is something that IUP made cuts to during the retrenchment that got a lot of publicity during the 2020-21 academic year.
There are some that are happy to see the changes starting to take shape, namely IUP faculty union President Erika Frenzel.
“The per-credit tuition model for our in-state students would be – and is – detrimental to IUP,” Frenzel said. “It is detrimental to the affordability of IUP to our students, detrimental to our programs and departments, and overall, to our university.”
“The decrease in enrollment caused by per-credit tuition can be linked to IUP’s financial struggles that resulted in the retrenchment of faculty, furloughing of other union-represented units and a panicked restructuring of the university.”
With all of that information in mind, the question becomes is this a good idea for the university to do. The short answer is yes.
While at first one may think that there will be less money entering IUP, as tuition would be less for many students, there is another variable that would be entering the playing field. The number of new students that IUP could draw in.
As mentioned above, IUP is the most expensive of the 14 schools in the PASSHE system. Because of that, there is greater incentive for people that struggle to afford college to attend a different university.
With a drop in tuition, IUP has an ability to attract more students, some of while could revitalize the arts and give a strong use for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classes at Kopchick Hall when it finishes construction.
All in all, this drop in tuition is a good more for IUP to take. It will ensure that we can keep operating as an independent university, without having to merge with other schools. All we as students can do is hope that the PASSHE board approves this change.
It would go into effect as soon as the fall 2022 semester if approved.