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Larry MacIntyre
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Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Endowment earnings are helping low-income students at IU

EDITOR'S NOTE: Links to additional documents -- President McRobbie's letter to Senators Baucus and Grassley, the Baucus Grassley report and the IU Foundation Investment Policy -- can be found at the bottom of this release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- By combining endowment earnings with state and federal financial aid programs for students, Indiana University Bloomington was able to cover 98 percent of the so-called "sticker price" of attendance for last fall's incoming freshmen from lower-income families.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

The "sticker price" to attend IU Bloomington, including tuition, fees, a double room and meal plan, is $14,512. The average price actually paid by some 1,000 Indiana freshmen whose family incomes were under $50,000 was just $341.

That was one of the key points made by IU President Michael A. McRobbie in a letter responding to a request for information from U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The senators have asked IU and 135 other colleges and universities for information about how they use income from their endowments.

McRobbie has responded with a 14-page letter that he made public today. He said the letter details the significant progress the university has made in concert with the IU Foundation, its fund-raising partner, in making its programs more affordable for Hoosier families, especially those with limited financial means.

"We are committed to preserving our role as a public institution that is accessible and affordable to all qualified Hoosiers," McRobbie said.

All in all, 30 percent of IU Bloomington's 18,363 resident undergraduate students are paying less than $2,000 toward tuition and fees, thanks to a variety of merit- and needs-based programs, according to the letter.

In total, IU Bloomington this academic year provided $111 million in gift and grant assistance to undergraduate students, according to the letter. This funding came from four sources: federal grants, such as the Pell Program, state grants from the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI), institutional funding and private support, especially scholarships provided by the IU Foundation.

In the last decade, IU Bloomington has increased undergraduate grant aid by more than $65 million (from $45 million to over $111 million). This grant aid allows IU Bloomington to hold tuition and fees paid by the average Hoosier below $5,000.

A key component in this affordability strategy is IU Bloomington's Matching the Promise fundraising program, which is designed to enable donors to essentially double the value of their gifts. For example, a $50,000 gift generates 5 percent a year, or $2,500, to be applied to scholarships. The Bloomington campus matches that with another $2,500, so that the gift actually produces a $5,000 scholarship every year in perpetuity.

The IU Foundation has set a goal of $200 million for the financial aid component of Matching the Promise.

In his letter, McRobbie noted that having such a robust endowment has enabled IU Bloomington to recruit more of the state's top high school students, regardless of family circumstances. This has resulted in a mean SAT increase of 42 points over the past three years.

"This is exactly what endowment earnings should allow a great public university to do," McRobbie said. "I am extremely proud of IU's leadership in this arena."

President McRobbie's letter: http://www.indiana.edu/~iunews/reply.pdf

The Baucus Grassley report: http://www.indiana.edu/~iunews/report.pdf

IU Foundation Investment Policy: http://www.indiana.edu/~iunews/investment.pdf