The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

January 14, 2014

Editorial: Ivy Tech cuts wise, just don't hurt us

Leaders at the Ivy Tech Community College want to reduce costs by restructuring the statewide series of campuses.

Anderson’s all for it, as long as it doesn’t delay the construction of a new campus on the city’s south side. So far, the state has pledged $20 million toward the $24 million campus; the remainder is to come from local revenue raising sources.

Ivy Tech is calling its cost-cutting strategy “the most substantial organizational changes” in its 50 years. The number of chancellors will decrease from 13 statewide to 11. Anderson, already with Muncie, Marion and New Castle in the East Central region, will be combined with Richmond and Connersville.

Why the cuts? The college had already announced a new academic structure that would help address the 1,200-to-1 student-adviser ratio by allowing students to enroll in meta-majors and “self-advise” online. And Ivy Tech’s funding per student has lagged behind other state institutions. Ivy Tech says its funding per full-time student has dropped from $3,248 to $2,543 between 2006 and 2012.

Additionally, Gov Mike Pence is asking for all state institutions to cut 2 percent out of their budgets during the second half of 2014, which amounts to about $4 million for Ivy Tech.

And with the economy seeming to rebound, it may be a safe prediction that enrollment could drop for those returning to college to find a new career.

All this is understandable. But Anderson has waited years for a new campus to be constructed along Interstate 69 west of Scatterfield Road. Funding is nearly secure. Road improvements are being made to accommodate commuting students. There’s too much riding on the presence of a campus here and funding promises have already been made.

So, let’s be clear on this. Cost-cutting measures in state colleges are a sign of the economic times we live in. But pledges already made should stay in place.

In summary Ivy Tech Community College is making wise cuts in trimming costs but a pledge to build an Anderson campus should be kept.

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