Topics: Scholarships, Student Affairs, Administrative

November 29, 2011

Ball State University today announced that it will award a $500 Completion Scholarship to Hoosier students who are on track to earning their degrees within four years. The unprecedented Completion Scholarship is just one of four comprehensive measures being implemented at the university to save students money, remove impediments and help students complete their degrees in four years, and maximize the use of university facilities. Students who take advantage of these initiatives will typically save about $6,000 over the course of their studies.

The $500 Completion Scholarship will be awarded in the final semester to any Indiana resident undergraduate who is on track to graduate in four years.

"The Completion Scholarship and time to degree initiatives demonstrate our commitment to Hoosier families," said university President Jo Ann M. Gora. "Our goal is to remove obstacles and reward student success on the path to a high-quality four-year degree. We have taken a comprehensive, substantive and far-reaching approach. We are meeting hard-working Hoosier families in the middle with innovative thinking and fiscal stewardship."

"Ball State is a student-centered university," said Hollis Hughes, president of the Ball State Board of Trustees. "We've searched for and removed impediments that slow our students on their path to a degree. I'm particularly proud that we have found solutions that preserve immersive learning and a relevant education that prepares Ball State graduates for the challenges of the 21st century."

The university is implementing measures that will benefit students by making it easier and less costly to graduate within four years, including reducing the number of credit hours required for most degrees, encouraging hybrid schedules and making summer classes more affordable.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels supported the comprehensive approach. "This is another example of Ball State working hard to save students money while providing high-quality degrees," he said. "The university's approach offers several meaningful ways to graduate faster, at a lower cost. This is the kind of thinking we need for the state to meet its higher education goals."

The university has sought to maximize the number of undergraduate degrees that can be completed in eight 15-credit-hour semesters. Until now, curricula required a minimum of 126 credits, requiring overloaded semesters or an extra half semester of summer instruction. The university has reduced the minimum number of undergraduate credits to 120. The intent of this initiative is to enable most students to graduate in four years or fewer. The change will save a typical student about $2,000.

Summer tuition for main-campus students has been reduced by an average of 18 percent. This allows students to pick up courses at a reduced rate over the summer and should facilitate graduation within four years. University officials anticipate that an increasing number of students will take advantage of this option. Additional summer enrollment will help ensure that the university's educational facilities are used year-round. Based on past enrollment patterns, students would save more than $400 each summer they are enrolled. 

Finally, Ball State students can take advantage of new, hybrid schedules that make it easier for them to take courses both on campus and online. Now, a main-campus student who might have taken 12 credit hours can take up to an additional 6 online or on-campus at no additional charge. Students can configure additional classes in a way that is convenient to them. The increased flexibility and value will make it easier to graduate faster at substantial savings. Students taking a typical hybrid schedule would save more than $750 in a semester, or $3,000 if they take one online course per year.

All told, these initiatives will save Hoosier students more than $5.5 million annually. Students who maximize all of these opportunities could save nearly $10,000 over four years.

"Helping more Hoosier students finish faster with minimal debt is a cornerstone of Indiana's college success agenda," said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. "Ball State's Completion Scholarship, summer tuition discount and efforts to streamline degree credit requirements represent important steps in the right direction."

By Joan Todd, Executive Director of Public Relations