The student experience began this year for nearly three thousand freshmen with a hectic but exciting check-in day, as nervous family members said their good-byes.
Throughout the next week, students added and dropped courses, met new friends, bought textbooks, and navigated their way across campus. Some knew exactly what careers they wanted to pursue at the end of their college careers; others weren’t so sure.
The experiences of these students in the next few years will encompass the classroom and go beyond. There will be trips to the student ski lodge, Indiana Mall, Yellow Creek State Park, and to many of the businesses and restaurants uptown. The students will join fraternities and sororities, participate in professional organizations associated with their major, write for The Penn, and join student government and the Residence Hall Association.
Our varsity athletes will win many games as they proudly represent their university on the courts and fields of competition. Friendships will grow, time will march on, and in a few short years, graduation will be upon these freshmen. Pomp and Circumstance will echo through Miller Stadium, and another class of seniors will join 85,000 alumni who are already making their way in the world. IUP, like all universities, provides education inside and outside the classroom. The student experience is different for each person.
Select for photo gallery of the Student Experience
This fall, alumni and friends of IUP are hearing more about the student experience through a series of direct-mail pieces, from students by telephone, and in articles throughout the next several issues of IUP Magazine. Today, IUP has three campuses, including 349 acres in Indiana. In 1875, there were fewer than a hundred students the entire school; in 2004, nearly fourteen thousand underclassmen and graduate students attend class each day.
The cost of running IUP has also increased and changed in many ways. The biggest misconception about IUP is that all costs of educating students are totally covered by a combination of tuition and the state budget. This is simply not true. Even if there were increases to tuition and to the budget each year (which is not the case), the university would still need to rely upon private sources—philanthropic giving—to fund the student experience at a level of excellence.
“...Alumni and friends play a significant role in the student experience through their financial support, thus assuring the excellence of the student experience.”
IUP needs to follow the example set by private institutions and larger public universities. There, alumni and friends play a significant role in the student experience through their financial support, thus assuring the excellence of the student experience. Today’s students in turn will be responsible for investing in the students of tomorrow.
The top need of IUP as part of the student experience is scholarships. Today, the average IUP graduates with over $17,000 in debt. Many must also work at more than one job during their college careers. Additional scholarship support would give such students more time to experience the university more fully.
In 2004, students review financial aid packages with a critical eye, knowing that more aid will mean less debt at the end of four years. They take this into account, along with such variables as how good the library is or how well equipped the student union. While students make a decision on where to attend college based on a number of factors, IUP’s ability to provide attractive financial aid packages will draw to it the best possible students.
Not only are alumni and friends part of IUP’s past, but they are also critical to its future. Your support will assure the continuation of high-quality education at a great price. This year, you will learn more about the student experience. I encourage you to give serious consideration to joining those already supporting IUP. Your gift, be it $50, $100 or $500 will enhance student life. On behalf of the entire university community, I thank you for the part you play in enriching the IUP student experience.