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Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

IU Bloomington has lowest "net cost" among all Big Ten universities

Sept. 14, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Families researching higher education opportunities for their college-bound children probably have never encountered the term "average net price." It is the average amount that in-state undergraduates actually pay -- after financial aid -- for tuition, room, board and living expenses at a college.

IUB Cost 2010

But that may change soon, now that the U.S. Department of Education is trying to make this information readily available by calculating and publishing average net prices for every college and university in the country on its new College Navigator website.

Neil Theobald, vice president and chief financial officer at Indiana University, was very pleased to discover this data at the website because it is a point he has been trying to make for several years now: IU Bloomington is a bargain Hoosier families should not overlook.

In fact, IU Bloomington has the lowest average net price for in-state undergraduate students reported for of any public Big Ten university. Furthermore, the data show that -- regardless of family income level -- students at IU Bloomington pay less than their peers at other Big Ten universities.

The rankings show IU Bloomington's average net price for the 2008-09 was $10,367. This is almost $4,700 per year less than the average out-of-pocket cost to attend the other public Big Ten universities, saving the average Hoosier family more than $18,000 over four years compared to residents of other Big Ten states.

"I have no doubt we'll be No. 1 in these rankings again next year and the year after that," Theobald said. "No other university is working more aggressively than we are at IU Bloomington to maximize financial aid for in-state students."

The number represents the average out-of-pocket price paid by Hoosier families after all student financial aid grants are subtracted from the total cost of attendance at IU Bloomington.

In 2008-09, total cost of attendance at IU Bloomington was calculated at $19,307 (including tuition, room, board, books and miscellaneous expenses) and the average amount of grants awarded to in-state students was $8,940.

Big Ten Cost 2010

That left $10,367 in out-of-pocket costs paid by the average family.

Interestingly, the two lowest-cost out-of-pocket expense Big Ten universities are both in the state of Indiana. Purdue's average net price was reported at $10,620. The highest average net price was Penn State at $19,056.

Theobald said IU Bloomington has achieved the lowest net price in the Big Ten by holding down tuition and making significantly more money available for grants and scholarships to Hoosier students.

These efforts were in keeping with President Michael A. McRobbie's goal of doing everything possible to make IU more affordable for Hoosiers.

A cornerstone in the effort was the recently completed Matching the Promise capital campaign in which IU Bloomington's friends and alumni gave more than $330 million towards scholarships and fellowships on the campus. At least partially as a result, out of pocket expenses for in-state students working on IU Bloomington bachelor's degrees fell by 12 percent over four years. In the past five years, the amount of money available for financial aid grants to in-state undergraduates at IU Bloomington has more than doubled, from $56 million in 2005-06 to $114 million in 2010-11.

Sources of this new funding include state and federal aid as well as campus-funded aid and scholarships provided from gifts to the Indiana University Foundation.

The College Navigator website even shows net prices broken down by family income. For instance, in-state students from families making $30,000 to $48,000 a year paid an average of just $6,149 toward the full cost of attendance, indicating that the typical student from this income group would have received $13,158 in grants.