Indiana State University will conduct a public hearing June 5 on proposed tuition and mandatory fee increases for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Under consideration is the possibility of a new $75 per semester health and wellness fee effective the second year.

The health and wellness fee, recommended by the Student Government Association after a favorable student referendum in March, would be used to increase mental health services and prevention programming. 

The hearing will begin at 3 p.m. in the State Room of Tirey Hall, and the public will have an opportunity to comment, with each speaker asked to limit comments to three minutes. The board of trustees will act on tuition/fees when it meets June 21, in conjunction with next year’s budget.

The public hearing is required by law.

The proposed tuition increase — not including a new health and wellness fee — is about 1.9 percent each year. That represents an added $89 per semester for a full-time undergraduate Indiana resident student for 2019-20 and an added $90 per semester for 2020-21.

The Student Recreation Center fee for both academic years will remain flat at $100 per semester.

This past year, tuition for the academic year was $8,890 for Indiana resident undergraduates taking 12 to 18 credit hours per semester, and the recreation center fee added an additional $200 for the year.

According to ISU, the proposed tuition and mandatory fee increases will be used to maintain and improve academic quality and student health and wellness.

If trustees approve the health/wellness fee, the tuition/mandatory fee increase would be about 3.5 percent for 2020-21. The Commission for Higher Education has established a nonbinding target of a 1.65 percent increase for state institutions.

"We're recommending a 0 percent to no more than inflationary increase of 1.65 percent each year of the biennium," said Kate Stuard, Commission for Higher Education communications director.

Under the SGA proposal, most students [those enrolled in six or more credit hours on campus fall and spring semesters] would pay a $75 per semester health and wellness fee. 

If approved, it would not take effect before fall 2020.

Officials say there has been a “dramatic spike” in the demand for mental health services over the past 10 years not only at ISU, but on college campuses across the country. 

Between 2007-08 and 2017-18, there has been a 92 percent increase in demand for those services at ISU. In the same time span, ISU’s enrollment grew by 23 percent. Increase in demand for services grew at nearly four times the rate of student enrollment.

Waiting periods for students to see a counselor continue to increase because of this demand.

The SGA proposal recommends that revenue from the new fee go to hiring more staff for the Student Counseling Center and Student Health Promotion.

It also would be used for both mental health training for students, staff, and faculty and health and wellness programming.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

Sue Loughlin has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star for more than 30 years. She covers general news with a focus on education.