Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kenley Still A Bad Negotiator

I see Sen. Luke Kenley can't negotiate any better deal with Indiana University on tuition increases than he did with Irsay and the City of Indianapolis over funding for the CIB's Lucas Oil Stadium. Kenley, in his role as Chairman of the State Budget Committee, threatened to withhold approval of IU's capital projects in retaliation for IU's Board of Trustees voting to increase tuition almost 5% in the worst of economic times because they weren't satisfied with the 2% increase they got in this year's state budget. Kenley released the money last week after reaching some private understanding with the university. Today, we learn the details of that little secret deal:

Under pressure from state lawmakers to keep tuition costs down, Indiana University president Michael McRobbie announced today the creation of "incentive grants" designed to save students $200 to $300 dollars in tuition.

The catch: Students have to carry a full course load and a B average.

The effect: In-state students facing a $414 dollar increase in tuition next year (4.8 percent hike on base tuition of $8,613) can earn a grant to lower the tuition increase to 1.3 percent, or $114 dollars . . .

McRobbie says a majority of in-state students would have qualified last year for the grants.

Today's announcement comes after State Sen Luke Kenley backed off a threat to hold up building projects pending before the state budget committee. Friday, IU was given the OK to proceed on those projects.

The program will cost IU an estimated $3 million to fund -- money that will come from cost cutting and increased philanthropic donations, McRobbie said.

And it will serve as a real incentive for students to do good work in their studies . . .

Meanwhile at the Statehouse, Sen. Kenley was about to meet with officials from Purdue this afternoon. In a short telephone interview, he praised IU but declined to take all the credit for prompting today's announcement.

"This was his idea," Kenley said about McRobbie's announcement.

Asked if Kenley thought he had anything to do with it, he replied: "Well, probably, but I don't know if that's important."
So in-state students are now paying close to $9,000 a year for tuition to attend Indiana Univeristy at Bloomington, which doesn't include the costs of housing, food and books, and IU is giving them a break by offering $200-$300 grants to about half of the in-state students. Kenley praises the grant program but doesn't want to take all the credit for it. I wouldn't take any credit for it. Only a man who inherited a fortune from his parents could think this token offering is consolation to parents and students for the near-doubling of tuition costs at the university over the past decade.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I saw it and couldn't believe it. The concession was $200 to some students? That's a pittance compared to what those students are paying. Heck that's LESS than the price of two new textbooks.