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IU Treasurer: School Could Operate At Net Loss By 2020

Last updated on Thursday, December 8, 2016

(BLOOMINGTON) - Indiana University is on a trajectory to be operating at a net loss of about $70 million by 2021, the school’s treasurer told the board of trustees.

Treasurer Don Lukes told the board last week that the financial issues weren't unexpected, the Herald-Times reported.

"Last year, the numbers were rather similar," Lukes said.

Trustees asked if celebrating the school's bicentennial in 2020 was still feasible and if construction projects should be postponed. IU President Michael McRobbie said plans are flexible and could be scaled back, if needed.

State appropriations are down this year to about 18 percent, while student fees and tuition were up to 38 percent.

Trustee Patrick Shoulders said that when he was a student at the university in the 1970s, state appropriations accounted for about 70 percent of total revenue.

"It's become a political rallying cry that college must remain affordable. All the while, there's relatively less state support," Shoulders said.

Another trustee asked if IU can still accomplish goals it has set for itself in the next four years. IU vice president and chief financial officer John Sejdinaj said yes but "we have to work at it."

Lukes also included several ideas into his presentation to the board for how IU can avoid a budget shortfall, which included increasing retention rates. According to Lukes a 1 percent increase in the university-wide freshman retention rate would bring in $6 million. Other strategies included, increasing enrollment, tuition as well as identifying new operation efficiencies.

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