Next to home ownership, the cost of college is one of the biggest investments for Americans. People are either trying to pay for college for their children or they are trying to attend college themselves. It is the crux of why many are questioning the value of a college degree. When calculating the cost of tuition and fees, plus textbooks, along with living expenses, simply put, college can be expensive.

There are many ways families can reduce the out-of-pocket costs of college. Filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine if a student qualifies for federal or state financial assistance is one way. Applying for scholarships is another. Students could even consider living at home with a parent or guardian.

However, even if students qualify for financial aid, other needs such as food, transportation, and housing may take precedence, and research shows that more than 65% of college students forego purchasing course materials and textbooks in order to save money. 

To help combat this financial obstacle and ensure Hoosiers can afford a postsecondary education, Ivy Tech Community College has maintained its low-cost tuition model. This year, with the funding support of the Indiana General Assembly, we are pleased to announce that Ivy Tech will freeze tuition for the next two years. This means that the cost of tuition will remain with no unexpected increases for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years.

Not only that, but beginning this fall semester, Ivy Tech will pay for student textbooks for at least the next academic year, investing nearly $25 million to cover the costs of required textbooks. This investment will save students hundreds of dollars each year and, most importantly, ensure they have the materials they need to succeed on day one. 

We did not stop there. We also know that full-time students, which describes about 25% of our student population, need to complete 30 credit hours per year to be considered “on-time completion” for a two-year degree. Ivy Tech will ensure no full-time student will pay more than $4,500 per year for as many credit hours as they want to take. If a full-time student does not complete 15 credit hours in a semester, Ivy Tech will allow them to take up to six credit hours at no charge with a Summer-Flex Scholarship to reach the 30 credit hours needed. This will help students maintain state financial aid eligibility and qualify for more aid dollars.

You may think this sounds too good to be true. We can assure you – it is true! With our new Ivy+ approach to tuition and books, these student-centered initiatives reinforce that Ivy Tech is committed to being your community college, plus remove barriers to student success and completion. Our goal is to ensure Hoosiers succeed in earning a post-secondary credential that either puts them directly into a high-wage, high-demand career, or sets them up for a seamless transfer to a four-year institution where they can complete their Bachelor’s degree and beyond. With Ivy+ we are investing in a brighter, more affordable future for Hoosiers.

Sue Ellspermann is president of Ivy Tech and Jennie Vaughan is Ivy Tech’s Bloomington Campus chancellor.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.