Indiana budget halts capital projects

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has proposed a two-year halt on new and pending capital campaigns funded by taxpayers, such as college and university renovations and construction efforts. Daniels’ budget proposal includes money for the expansion of two prisons: Miami Correctional Facility and the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. However, since Goshen College is a private institution with capital campaigns funded largely by private donors, the two-year halt won’t have a large affect on the college’s campaign efforts or financial aid.

Chris Ruhl, Indiana budget director, said the proposed moratorium would save Indiana $25 million in the next two years. State officials hope implementation of the halt won’t have a negative effect on surrounding institutions such as Ivy Tech, an institution that’s tightly pressed to find sufficient housing for its growing number of students. This budget cut would put a stop to the $200 million worth of proposed construction efforts not yet approved by the Commission for Higher Education and the State Budget Committee. In other words, Indiana University South Bend won’t get a new arts center this year, nor will Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis get a new neuroscience building.

The Goshen College financial aid office isn’t overly concerned about the shifts in the new budget. According to Judy Moore, Financial Aid Director, the need-based state grants issued to Indiana students are the only thing that could affect GC students. “For the past two years, the maximum amount the state provides for students attending a private school has been $10,992,” Moore said. It’s too early to tell whether this amount will see any changes, but a dramatic increase or decrease isn’t anticipated. “We may not know until April,” she said.

Under Daniels’ new budget proposal, general state funding for state colleges and universities would decrease by about 4 percent on average. The colleges and universities would not, however, lose the same amount of money. Instead, a new formula would help assess which colleges have the best graduation rates, degrees awarded and expanded research, and money would be awarded accordingly. Regardless, lawmakers need to create another version of the budget for approval by the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate before final approval by Daniels.

Written by Laura Schlabach

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