Last modified: Tuesday, September 1, 2009
IU's in-state undergrads given chance to earn "incentive grants"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie announced today that in-state undergraduate students at all IU campuses will have the opportunity to earn $200 to $300 "incentive grants" to help with the cost of their education by taking a full course load and achieving at least a B average this academic year.
"These new University Incentive Grants will reduce the impact of tuition increases over this biennium for all Hoosier undergraduate students who demonstrate a commitment to degree completion and academic achievement," McRobbie said. "A majority of our in-state students would have qualified for this credit last year, and our hope is that with this new incentive, even more Hoosiers will earn a B average this year."
The program was designed to address a twofold purpose -- help Hoosier families in a time of economic decline and expand McRobbie's on-going Degrees of Excellence initiative, which provides funding for initiatives that encourage undergraduate students to remain in school and complete their degrees on time. The Degrees of Excellence initiative -- first announced two years ago in McRobbie's inaugural address -- is a university-wide $10 million, five-year effort to substantially increase the number of IU bachelor's degrees awarded to Indiana residents. Under the program, IU has cut $2 million each year in base administrative costs from its budgets, and that money has been redirected toward programs that directly support the goals of Degrees of Excellence, such as targeted financial aid grants, and academic counseling and tutoring.
"In light of the hardships so many Hoosier families are dealing with, it is incumbent on all Indiana institutions to find creative ways to respond and keep higher education affordable and accessible for all qualified students," McRobbie said.
Although some details of the plan are still being finalized, McRobbie said the incentive awards will apply to all full-time (12 hours or more each semester) Hoosier undergraduates who successfully complete the 2009-10 academic year with a 3.0 or better grade average. For seniors who will graduate at the end of spring term, they will be required to earn a 3.0 during the fall semester to qualify for the award.
Students at IU Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who meet these requirements will have $300 credited toward their bursar accounts for use in the 2010-11 academic year. Students at IU's five regional campuses who meet the requirements will have $200 credited toward their bursar accounts for use in the 2010-11 academic year.
For seniors graduating in June 2010, the credit will apply to spring semester of 2010.
McRobbie has asked IU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Neil Theobald to work out final details of the program and issue written guidance to students and administrators on each campus.
"This new performance credit program helps us achieve two of our longstanding goals -- ensuring that Indiana University remains affordable for Hoosier students, and improving our graduation and retention rates by giving students additional incentives to help them lower their costs in these tough economic times," McRobbie said.
McRobbie pointed out that during the past three years, IU has made significant strides in affordability by expanding the amount available for financial aid grants to in-state undergraduate students by $64 million, or 44 percent, bringing the total to more than $210 million. That number includes funding from federal, state and the university's own resources. Additionally, the university's Matching the Promise fundraising campaign has raised more than $322 million for scholarships and fellowships at IU Bloomington.
However, IU also has looked for new and innovative ways to provide additional encouragement and help to students so that they remain enrolled and complete their degree programs in a timely manner.
"I believe it is important for Indiana University to offer not only appropriate financial assistance to address the issue of affordability but also to encourage degree completion and academic achievement," McRobbie explained. "This new program does all of these things by rewarding Indiana students who demonstrate a commitment to achievable academic goals."