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Lawmaker says IU progressing in addressing tuition

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A top state lawmaker said Thursday that Indiana University is making progress in addressing his concerns over tuition increases, so he is putting two time-sensitive IU projects back on the agenda for possible state approval.

Republican state Sen. Luke Kenley of Noblesville, chairman of the State Budget Committee, previously removed IU and Purdue projects totaling $53 million from Friday’s committee agenda because he was upset over their tuition increases.

IU recently approved an in-state tuition increase this school year of 4.6 percent, while Purdue raised its tuition by 5 percent plus a phased-in $500 fee.

Kenley and some other lawmakers are upset about tuition increases at the two Big 10 schools, especially because of the recession. Kenley also has said the universities have other financial resources they could turn to without raising tuition this year.

Kenley said negotiations with IU on possible ways to address in-state increases are in their final stages and an announcement may come as early as next week. He declined to discuss details of the negotiations.

But he said committee members on Friday will consider releasing state funds for a parking garage at the IU Indianapolis campus and track upgrades in Bloomington. Bids for the track upgrades are out, and will soon be released for the garage.

Both projects must be completed for already scheduled events, Kenley said.

“We are trying to strike a balance between providing world-class universities and addressing rising prices,” Kenley said. “Indiana University leaders should be credited for joining us in this effort to find solutions on behalf of Hoosier students and parents struggling during these recessionary times.”

IU’s Board of Trustees would have to approve any changes in the tuition rates, but university spokesman Larry MacIntyre said “we are looking at some things we can do to address affordability and hope to make an announcement next week.”

Kenley said talks with Purdue officials were continuing. But he said Wednesday that they had given little indication of trying to appease his concerns.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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