Engineering, summer courses and State Street Master Plan in funding request

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue University is working on its state funding request for the next two years. It’s the first time former Governor and current Purdue President Mitch Daniels will play a major role in receiving money from the state.

Purdue University’s campus sat quietly Thursday as summer break nears its end, but university leaders are working to eliminate the idea of a break with more summer opportunities for students.

“If we’re really going to move in the direction of higher graduation rates and faster completion, then summer has to be a big part of it,” said Daniels.

The university is asking for $5 million to expand the number of courses offered during the summer, which will be a major component of Purdue’s biennium request for state funding. There’s also $6 million allotted for another large expansion — the College of Engineering.

“Hard to name something that could help Indiana more than more engineers and, quite possibly, the new businesses and economic growth that they might spin off,” said Daniels.

Another new request is funding for the State Street Master Plan, although Daniels said it’s unclear how much money Purdue will put towards the project.

“Here’s a chance to do something every state hopes to see happen now, and that’s to build places that are real magnets for talented people and for new businesses,” said Daniels.

Between these new items — money withheld from the state, and the way the state’s performance funding formula works — Daniels said the request is on par with past years. He said that the funding formula could use some improvements.

“For one thing, it is setup as such that it’s a zero-sum game. So Purdue’s performance went up, but some of the other schools who started at sometimes a much lower basis went up more. So, money shifts from us to them. Secondly, there are differences between a research institution like Purdue or IU and others,” said Daniels.

The university will meet with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education at Purdue in October. The commission will then forward a request to the Indiana General Assembly for consideration during its legislative session.

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