Time is the statistically proven enemy of higher education. Study upon study shows the longer it takes for a student to complete a degree program, the more likely life is to interrupt or even derail their progress.
What time subtracts from higher education at Ivy Tech Community College, Ivy+ aims to add back. Newly implemented for the 2021-22 term at Indiana’s statewide postsecondary system, the Ivy+ initiative freezes and caps tuition while also standardizing additional costs of education.
“Ivy+ makes Ivy Tech the only state institution not only freezing the cost of tuition but significantly reducing overall costs at a time when we need many more Hoosiers to earn quality college credentials,” said Tom McCool, executive director of marketing and communications at Ivy Tech’s Greater Lafayette locations. “This helps students either go directly from Ivy Tech into high-wage, high-demand careers or seamlessly transfer to a four-year institution.”
The basics of Ivy+ include:
Frozen tuition for two years: Ivy Tech’s price per credit hour for all Indiana residents (already the state’s lowest) will stay at $149.55 through the 2023 academic year.
Tuition is capped at 12 credit hours per semester: All credit hours after 12 are essentially free. This helps full-time students target on-time completion of two-year degrees by taking 15 credit hours per semester. Summer-Flex Scholarships also offer six free summer credit hours to students who do not complete 15 credit hours in a semester.
Required textbooks are one price and provided for free in 2021-22: About 65% of college students forego buying textbooks due to cost. At Ivy Tech, that averages about $500 per semester. Ivy+ makes all required textbooks one price. As an added value for this academic year: Every student will receive all required textbooks for free thanks to funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
“When we can encourage students to take a slightly heavier load without any additional financial burden, it increases their odds of finishing earlier than they might have without such an incentive,” said Dr. John Laws, vice chancellor for student affairs at Ivy Tech’s Greater Lafayette locations. “Ivy+ saves money for the students, and the bottom line is that everybody wins.”
Ivy+ saves money for the students, and the bottom line is that everybody wins.
Dr. John Laws, vice chancellor for student affairs
Laws said last fall, 33.72% of Ivy Tech’s student body was taking 12 credit hours or more. This fall, that percentage is 36.38% — a nearly 8% increase. Although he said that Ivy+ can’t be the only reason for the upswing, he knows it’s helping rather than hurting. McCool added that while Ivy+ is a new initiative and additional fees remain for select degree programs, the program is creating a clearer path to degree completion.
“Completion is as important to us as enrolling new students,” McCool said. “Ivy+ helps eliminate cost as a barrier to taking more classes and completing earlier. It really levels the playing field for Ivy Tech students statewide.”