Topics: President, Administrative

April 30, 2007

Members of the Indiana General Assembly drew praise from Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora for their recent action on a biennial state budget that promises to have a positive effect on the university, its students and graduates.

On April 29, the legislature approved a new two-year spending plan for the state that increases funding for higher education throughout Indiana and invests in a number of key initiatives at Ball State, in particular.

Important components of the measure favoring Ball State include $33 million in capital bonding authority for the Central Campus Academic Project (CCAP), $1 million in new base budget appropriations to support immersive learning and limited inflationary increases in funding for salaries.

Other provisions of the budget - already approved and signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels -authorize the repayment of $6.6 million withheld from the university in 2002 because of tighter constraints on state finances at that time, as well as provide funding for enrollment growth in off-campus and distance learning programs.

Additional funds also become available under the just-adopted budget to offset expenses in the growth of faculty research on campus.

"After several years of limited funding and even some budget reductions, these new investments can pay great dividends for our students, faculty and the economy of Indiana," Gora said. "We are very pleased that both the Indiana House and Senate made increasing financial resources for higher education one of their budgetary priorities during this past legislative session."

Especially exciting from her perspective, Gora added, is the General Assembly's $1 million base budget endorsement of Ball State's drive toward becoming the "Entrepreneurial University" through its distinctive immersive learning programs.

"Increasingly, we expect these types of immersive learning experiences to be the hallmark of a Ball State education," Gora said, reiterating the university's goal to have immersive learning opportunities available to all interested students within five years. 

Integral to the CCAP, meanwhile, is the proposed renovation and rehabilitation of three principal buildings at Ball State - Teachers College, North Quad and Applied Technology - as well as campus utility improvements.

Under the new spending plan, Ball State also receives $6.5 million for ongoing maintenance and improvement of other campus facilities.

And while expressing thanks to all the members of the General Assembly, Gora said she and the entire university community are particularly grateful to local legislators State Rep. Dennis Tyler (D-Muncie) and State Sen. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) for their continued support.

Tyler was instrumental in getting the $33 million appropriation for the CCAP and the $1 million for immersive learning into the original House version of the budget bill, Gora said. She also expressed appreciation to Errington and her colleague, State Sen. Robert Meeks (R-LaGrange) - co-sponsor of the budget bill in the upper chamber - for including the various Ball State funding provisions in the Senate version of the legislation.