Purdue University is midway through a (so far) three-year tuition freeze. In the 2015-2016 school year, in-state students will pay $10,000 and out-of-staters $28,794. How’d they do it?
- Adding higher-deductible health care plans that save the school money and make employees more cost-conscious.
- Combining some administrative jobs and eliminating others. (The rise in administrative positions is not unique to Purdue. It’s a common trend in most universities across the country.)
- Cutting food service costs by moving to volume purchasing and hiring part-time students to do some jobs held by full-time employees. (Room and board costs have fallen by 5 percent two years in a row.)
And to help students save up to 30 percent (or $6 million) on textbooks (the third biggest expense for college students), Purdue has launched the Purdue Student Store on Amazon, through which students receive access to free one-day shipping on textbooks shipped to the West Lafayette campus and Amazon returns a percentage of eligible sales to Purdue to use for its student affordability and accessibility initiatives.
Early in his presidency Daniels asked school leaders to shift their thinking: “Instead of asking our students’ families to adjust their budgets to our desired spending, let’s try to adjust our spending to their budgets.” Daniels is driven by the concern that student debt harms the economy. May his tribe increase.