Recently the Indiana State Budget Committee along with state university presidents addressed this issue. The meeting was held to ask universities why they went against the state's recommendations and increased the rate of tuition during a time when Hoosier families are struggling financially and having trouble affording college tuition, even before the increases were made.
On average, in-state undergraduate tuition rates at Indiana's public universities have already increased by 122 percent since 2000. In-state undergraduate tuition rate equaled less than 12 percent of per capita Hoosier income in 2000, but is expected to equal nearly 19 percent of per capita Hoosier income in 2013.
College education has proven to be an important component in the 21st century workforce. By making the sought after goal of a college degree even harder to obtain, it is only hindering the future of our state.
Tuition is not the only thing that is increasing, census data was released that shows an increase of people are now falling into poverty. Unfortunately in 2010 Indiana's poverty rate rose to 16.3 percent, which is well above the national average. These numbers reflect the amount of people who are truly struggling in our state during these hard times.
If we can provide the opportunity to further the education of Hoosiers it will hopefully increase their chances of securing a career path in today's competitive job market and keep them well about the poverty rate. Increasing tuition costs only adds to the already existing financial stress and economic hardships that many people in our state are undoubtedly facing.
It is true that Indiana offers an array of great universities and I personally think it is a shame that more students will not be able to utilize all that our colleges have to offer due to skyrocketing tuition prices.
When tuition prices rise as they have recently, it leaves Hoosier students at a disadvantage. There is no justification to the rising rates in comparison to our consumer price index. Unfortunately, with rising prices, I fear many Hoosier students will not be able to take advantage of our great in-state college opportunities and will be forced into seeking more affordable options for their futures.
I hope this is a conversation that continues and that new, innovative ways can be developed to lower tuition cost to a reasonable amount that everyone can be satisfied with. It is important that the committee works with state colleges to make obtaining a college degree something that is fair and affordable for everyone.
Education is an important factor in the progression of our state. We need to do everything in our power to allow Hoosier students the opportunity to gain a college education that will not place them or their families in financial distress for years to come.