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William Stephan
University Relations

Last modified: Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Commitment to Excellence funding spent to support life sciences, IU officials announce

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University officials said today (June 16) that, contrary to published reports, the university did not use Commitment to Excellence tuition funds to cover losses associated with the Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN) on the Bloomington campus.

"This isn't about losses. This situation arises because earnings on investments did not materialize as expected during the recent market downturn," said Judith G. Palmer, IU vice president and chief financial officer.

IU trustees approved the Commitment to Excellence program in 2002 as a way to enhance the academic excellence of the university. Incoming full-time students now pay $1,000 per academic year at IU Bloomington, $800 at IUPUI and $500 at the regional campuses. In 2003-04, the new fee generated nearly $7 million at the Bloomington campus.

At IU Bloomington, seven projects were selected for funding in the first year. Some of the income from the first round of tuition increases was earmarked for the recruitment and retention of top faculty and researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences to enable greater involvement in the state's life sciences initiatives. Various start-up costs, for items such as academic equipment and laboratory and classroom enhancements, were incurred.

IU Bloomington Chancellor Kenneth Gros Louis said, "The campus intended to use investment earnings from INGEN grant funds to achieve some of its goals, but as the stock market softened, the anticipated income was not forthcoming. Rather than halt the progress that had been made, the university decided to use the CTE funds as had been planned all along -- by making strategic investments in a field that had been identified as one of IU's top priorities: the life sciences.

"We are not backfilling for investment losses," Gros Louis said. "We are continuing to move the initiative forward, and we are doing so by using funds that had been committed for that purpose anyway."

The IU Board of Trustees has maintained a keen interest in the use of CTE funds and is monitoring their use closely. "We are confident that the university is investing this money in the approved programs," said Frederick F. Eichhorn Jr., president of the Board of Trustees.

"These investments are entirely consistent with the principles adopted by the trustees as to how the money would be used. They will enable the university to more effectively contribute to the growth of the life sciences in Indiana," Eichhorn said.