A student looking off camera in the oak grove while shadows from tree leaves cover their face

Effective fall 2022, undergraduate Pennsylvania residents taking 15 credits per semester will see a savings of almost 20 percent on tuition—a total of $1,854 over the academic year—as a result of IUP’s tuition affordability plan, approved Wednesday, March 2, by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

Under the IUP tuition affordability plan, which will go into effect this fall, any undergraduate student who is a Pennsylvania resident can take up to 18 credits per semester at the rate currently offered for 12 academic credits. Students taking 18 credits per semester for an academic year will save a total of $3,768, a 32 percent savings, in annual tuition.

IUP anticipates that more than 6,500 students will be eligible for the tuition affordability plan in fall 2022.

This action to reduce tuition follows three years of frozen tuition, fees, and meal costs, along with no increase in housing rates since 2016.

“State System universities are constantly evolving, always searching for new ways to ensure that all Pennsylvanians can afford a quality public higher education,” State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein said.

“I applaud President Driscoll and the IUP leadership team for listening to current and prospective students and using data and in-depth analysis to make earning a degree or credential more affordable. Having said that, we are reaching the limits of what the system alone can do to improve student affordability without substantial additional state support, and we are optimistic the commonwealth is ready to invest in our students, our universities, our system,” Greenstein said.

At its February 18 meeting, the IUP Council of Trustees approved submitting the tuition affordability proposal to the State System Board of Governors for review and consideration.

“The competition for students and the needs of those students seeking a higher education have been changing rapidly in recent years—not just in Pennsylvania, but throughout the nation,” IUP Council of Trustees Chair and Board of Governors Vice Chair Sam Smith said. “I’m very pleased that my colleagues on the board of governors came to the same conclusion that the IUP Council of Trustees arrived at by supporting this bold move to make IUP more affordable to resident, undergraduate students.”

“We are very pleased to have the board of governors’ approval for this tuition affordability plan, and I also want to thank the members of our council of trustees for their leadership and commitment to our students in moving this proposal forward for consideration by the board of governors,” President Michael Driscoll said.

“This plan comes from our commitment to IUP’s strategic plan, which sharpens our focus on becoming a more truly student-centered university, meeting the needs and wants of the students and families that we serve,” Driscoll said.

“We’ve been watching and listening to our students and families, and despite frozen tuition and fees and millions of dollars in scholarships and grants from private donations, our students are struggling financially more than ever. It has become crystal clear that affordability is critically important to our students and their families, and this new tuition plan is a major step forward in our prioritization of student success, which is central to our strategic plan,” he said.

Members of Driscoll’s leadership team began work on the tuition affordability plan in November 2021.

“The plan is the result of many, many hours of hard work, including careful data analysis and close consultation with our council of trustees,” Driscoll said.

“IUP is proud to be a university offering academic excellence and value, and I hope that this tuition affordability plan allows even more students to take advantage of an IUP education and to graduate with as little debt as possible,” he said. “The world needs well-educated leaders with strong critical thinking skills now more than ever.”

“I appreciate the board of governors’ consideration and approval of IUP’s new tuition plan,” Maura King, an IUP junior majoring in elementary education, said. King is a member of the IUP Council of Trustees.

“It is good news for incoming students, but it’s also a great opportunity for current students to take advantage of this savings, to be able to take more classes than they had planned at no additional cost. Not only does this streamlined tuition model make it easier for students and families to plan, but it can also help students to graduate on time, or even earlier than they had originally planned, with no increased costs. This can really have a positive impact on students working to complete their degree,” she said.

“There is a lot of work being done, and there are a great number of strategies in place to shape this campus into becoming more student centered,” she said. “The tuition affordability plan will make a huge positive impact for students, and it takes IUP’s commitment to being student centered to a new level.”

“I’m very pleased that IUP has taken this step to better realign IUP in terms of competitiveness with other universities in the region and beyond,” Steven Lomax, an IUP junior majoring in political science and the president of IUP’s Student Government Association, said.

“It’s completely right to leverage IUP’s advantage as a doctoral-granting university with this new affordability,” he said. “This new tuition affordability plan gives students in the commonwealth a clear view and understanding of the financial expectations of their educational goals.”

“This tuition affordability plan is more streamlined and simplified for our students and families as they make decisions about finances,” Vice President for Enrollment Management Patricia McCarthy said. “With this new model, IUP students can make decisions based on their academic plans, without being limited by budget constraints.

“In addition to this new plan, IUP remains committed to providing scholarships to our students who show academic promise and who have financial need,” McCarthy said. “Part of our university-wide commitment to student success includes an experienced and student-focused Office of Financial Aid, dedicated to helping our families secure the financial aid for which they are qualified.”

With the approval of this plan, the Office of Financial Aid will contact students planning to attend IUP in fall 2022 with new cost information.

“In addition to value and affordability, an important part of our commitment to student success is a promise to students, families, and alumni that we will not compromise on academic excellence,” Driscoll said. “We are very proud that IUP continues to be recognized for this commitment by external national and international independent education experts, like the Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, Intelligent.com, and many others.”

In December 2021, IUP was ranked as a doctoral, high research activity university (R2) by the Carnegie Classification, recognizing IUP’s commitment to research at every level and in every discipline. Among public universities, IUP is one of only two in Pennsylvania and one of only 99 in the United States with this ranking.

“IUP’s ranking as a high research activity university, and its national recognition for excellence and value, could not be possible without a passionate commitment to the teacher-scholar model,” Driscoll said.

“IUP faculty are actively teaching in the classroom at all levels, providing personalized attention to every student while excelling and involving students in cutting-edge research in all fields. Our faculty and our 140,000 alumni also have the networks in place to help students secure important and relevant out-of-classroom experiences,” Driscoll said.

IUP’s commitment to student success and individual attention includes efforts like the IUP Guides program, which provides a volunteer mentor to every new student. Mentors follow their students throughout the students’ time at IUP. The university also developed a comprehensive help center, the Hawks Q&A Center, designed to answer questions and refer students to the best campus resources to address their needs.

As a result of strong faculty advising and mentorship, IUP students are routinely selected for highly competitive national scholarships and awards. IUP students have won 20 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships, 16 Fulbright awards, 12 Freeman-Asia Study Abroad Scholarships, 12 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, and a host of other awards recognizing outstanding academics and academic promise.

“These kinds of scholarships reflect our commitment to challenging our students both academically and personally to reach goals and dreams that they may not have thought possible before coming to IUP,” Driscoll said.

In addition to these prestigious student scholarships, IUP faculty members have won more than 60 Fulbright awards. The university also has faculty included on a Princeton Review list of the 300 professors rated highest by students.

According to a new study by the Bipartisan Policy Center, public colleges and universities like IUP offer the best median return on investment (ROI) for students. IUP’s ROI was calculated by the center as $530,887. Analysts have data to show that college graduates make about $400,000 more in a lifetime than individuals with high school degrees.

“It’s both a privilege and a responsibility to provide a high-quality, affordable education to students, including offering opportunities for academic and personal achievement at all levels, meaningful research, and out-of-classroom experiences,” Driscoll said. “IUP’s tuition affordability plan is another step forward in creating a truly student-centered university.”