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Summer tuition cuts return for IUPUC enrollees carrying full load

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Students taking a full course load at IUPUC this summer could save more than $1,000 as tuition goes “on sale.”

For the third consecutive year, students who enroll and are accepted will be offered a 25 percent tuition discount this summer. Open enrollment began Saturday.

Mark Volpatti, executive director of administration and finance, said summer courses help students stay on track to graduate in four years or less.

“By graduating on time, they are better able to keep their loan debt to a minimum and pursue full-time employment more quickly,” he said.

But some students have found it is necessary to plan ahead to take advantage of the discount.

Lori Kooiman, a senior majoring in psychology at IUPUC, said she uses up her financial aid through the fall and spring semester.

She cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for summer courses — even if it means graduating earlier. She does realize the value, though.

Kooiman is graduating this year and enrolling in a mental health counseling graduate program in the fall. She said she will take summer classes while in that program at IUPUC so she can earn her master’s degree in two years.

The discount is part of a Finish in Four initiative that encourages students to complete their degrees in four years or less by enrolling in larger course loads and summer sessions.

Indiana’s public universities, including IUPUC, receive money from the state based on a performance funding formula, which takes into account degree completion.

IUPUC’s graduation rate is 25.4 percent, based on a cohort that enrolled full-time in the 2007 fall semester. The data is lagged by several years, so how the summer discount has influenced that rate is not yet clear.

The university may be losing money on the discount, but if it helps increase the completion rate, the money could be paid back by the state.

Although the discount was discontinued at the IU Bloomington campus because of smaller-than-projected enrollments there, the initiative has proved more successful at regional campuses.

Susan Sullivan, the college’s director of communication and marketing, said that’s because students from Columbus who take the summer months off from school — whether that’s Indiana University, Purdue University or even an out-of-state university — are learning about the savings.

She said the credits transfer to thousands of institutions across the country, and even out-of-state students will receive a dollar discount equivalent to the in-state 25 percent discount.

In return, the campus utilizes facilities that are traditionally vacant during the summer months and boosts enrollment.

Summer headcounts rose 6.6 percent in 2012 and 11.5 percent in 2013, which was the largest increase since 2005.

Volpatti hopes for strong enrollments again this year, to be accomplished through an aggressive marketing campaign.

“Providing students with a good educational value, while at the same time helping them understand the benefits of earning undergraduate degrees in four years, are key components of our enrollment management plans,” he said.

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