by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jenna Robinson of the Martin Center devotes her latest column to lessons other universities can learn from Purdue’s tuition freeze.
Purdue University started the tuition-freeze trend in 2013. Under the leadership of its president, Mitch Daniels, Purdue instituted a freeze on all tuition and fees at its flagship campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. Tuition has stayed flat ever since—more than half a decade. Since then, enrollment has increased, students have a more affordable education, and Purdue continues to thrive.
University administrators, governing boards, and state lawmakers can learn a lot from Purdue’s success. …
… A closer look at the data reveals important lessons for policymakers who want to replicate Daniels’ success.
Lesson 1: Revenues and expenses both play a role
In order to hold the line on tuition, Daniels increased revenues from other sources while cutting wasteful spending. …
… Lesson 2: Additional appropriations aren’t required
In May, Virginia public colleges announced their own tuition freeze. And while it’s certain to help many students and parents who pay the bills, the costs will be borne by Virginia’s taxpayers. The freeze was a result of $57.5 million of “incentivized funding” in the state budget for colleges to freeze their tuition for in-state students.
Purdue managed its tuition freeze without additional state funds. That’s despite the fact that—as universities go—Purdue was lean even before Mitch Daniels arrived. Now, it spends significantly less than its peers. In 2017, the average per-student expenditure among large, high-research land-grant universities was $42,779. Purdue’s was $38,747.