Senators surged to boost funds for IPFW

March 8th, 2017

By Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

The presidents of Indiana University and Purdue University on Tuesday asked senators putting their stamp on the next state budget to give more funding to the IPFW campus during a crucial transition.

The two flagship universities are splitting control of the campus starting July 1, 2018, the beginning of state fiscal year 2019.

Instead of Purdue managing all programs, IU will take over the nursing, dental hygiene and lab technicians as well as medical/radiology imaging degrees.

Purdue will control all remaining programs, including a well-known music program and other liberal arts degrees.

“It provides us with an opportunity to connect these programs to our medical education center, which is already on that campus,” said Indiana President Michael McRobbie said. “We can build a substantial health sciences enterprise.”

Indiana requested $4 million in one-time equipment and startup costs in 2018 and $4.8 million in operating revenues for the first year of the new alignment.

The House budget granted the operating request but not the capital funds.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said the university is retaining the programs that are shrinking.

That’s why he told the Senate Appropriations Committee the university is still working on a plan to reinvigorate the campus with new and improved academic offerings.

In the meantime, Purdue is asking state lawmakers to flat line IPFW’s annual operating budget.

The state appropriation for IPFW this fiscal year is $41.8 million.

The House version of the budget increases that to $41.9 million in fiscal year 2018 but drops it by about $2.3 million in the second year of the budget cycle.

Daniels said even though Purdue is losing about 1,200 students to IU’s new health sciences program, the additional funding is needed for transitional costs.

He said the Purdue Board of Trustees has just approved two new degree programs at IPFW – actuarial science and data science/applied statistics.

Daniels said one of the biggest transition costs is moving the library oversight from IU to Purdue as both universities have different catalogs and subscriptions.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, thanked Daniels for trying to improve the northeast Indiana campus, saying, “I know it’s been a slog.”

He also said the new alignment will make it easier to assign accountability for the performance of the campus, which has declined in recent years.

Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, questioned whether there would be duplicative administrative offices such as two admissions offices or financial aid divisions.

McRobbie said the two universities are working on detailed agreements so that Purdue could run these types of offices and services. He said IU will provide a payment to Purdue for its students to use them.

McRobbie said if the health sciences program doesn’t need a particular service, then there is no reason for IU to pay for part of it.