INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Mounting budget woes and the need to deal with a $68
million deficit could force Ivy Tech Community College to close up to a
quarter of its school sites around Indiana, school officials said.
The possible closures and a plan to boost tuition costs by $5 a semester
will be considered next week by the school’s trustees.
“There are only painful solutions because it’s the only way to move the
needle,” Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder told The Indianapolis Star.
Ivy Tech has already consolidated its administration offices, and school
officials will conduct a cost-benefit analysis this summer of about 50 of
its 72 locations around Indiana. Those sites operate through lease
agreements without state support and about 20 could face the ax, said Jeff
Terp, Ivy Tech’s senior vice president of engagement and institutional
State officials hope Ivy Tech can retool its operations without
significantly affecting students. Officials see Ivy Tech as playing a big
role in Indiana’s goal to double the number of Hoosier adults with college
degrees or certificates.
Ivy Tech is also crucial to Gov. Mike Pence’s effort to boost workforce
development by making sure Hoosiers have the education to fill available
“I would hope they would hold off on anything until we can review it
together,” said state Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who leads the Senate
Kenley said he wants to examine Ivy Tech’s capital needs, its building
sites, whether it has enough resources for its mission and “whether they can
Terp said Ivy Tech anticipates a slight dip in enrollment if it closes up to
a quarter of its sites. He said that any new sites would open with state
funding or community partnerships.
But that may not be enough to close the school’s $68 million deficit, which
began growing in 2005 when Ivy Tech became a statewide community college
system, moving from a vocational and technical school.
Ivy Tech took over for other universities’ regional campuses as Indiana’s
provider of associate degrees and handling most of Indiana’s dual credit and
But Snyder said that from the beginning, Ivy Tech did not get enough state
money per pupil - a situation that began expanding its budget deficit even
though state appropriations for Ivy Tech have grew by more than 50 percent
As the economy tanked, Ivy Tech’s enrollment soared and the school doubled
its budget and opened campuses. The school deferred expenses to cover the
School administrators say the current deficit means Ivy Tech cannot bring in
more counselors to guide more students to graduation and it’s unable to
renovate labs to entice more welding students. The school also cannot hire
more instructors for its nursing program, which has been capped due to the
lack of funds.
Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education, said the state
isn’t asking Ivy Tech “to do this with less money.”
“They are getting more money. The question is always, how much is enough to
do that?” she said.
Ivy Tech says it receives less funding per student than all other state
Nationally, community colleges spend a fraction of what it costs research
universities to educate each student.
But community colleges also serve a nontraditional population, including an
increasing proportion of low-income and minority students, according to a
report this month from The Century Foundation.