This month, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved a 6% tuition hike for the 2010-2011 school year. Having just finished a graduate program at U of L, I am well aware of just how extraordinary the tuition costs were for 2009-2010, and I'm glad I won't be around to pay the extra 6% this fall.
There is an option, however, that students planning to start classes at the University of Louisville in the fall can consider that would help them avoid the tuition hike: Indiana University Southeast. Having gotten my B.A. from IUS and my M.A. from U of L, I can stay with absolute certainty that, from my own experience, IUS is the superior school. But since people typically aren't convinced by statement of opinion alone, I'm offering the following comparisons of the two schools in some really important areas so that you can make your mind up for yourself.
Cost of Tuition
Even before the U of L tuition hike, the rates per credit hour for an undergraduate student at IUS were nearly half what they were at U of L. For the 2009-2010 school year, tuition rates for an in-state undergraduate student at U of L were $351.00 per credit hour; they were only $180.58 per credit hour at IUS. Additionally, because of reciprocity, students of IUS who live in the Kentucky counties of Jefferson, Bullitt, Meade, Oldham, and Trimble pay in-state rates at IUS.
There were many mornings as an undergraduate student at IUS when I pulled onto campus two minutes before class and still made it to my desk before the professor started lecturing. That's because all of the parking at IUS is on campus, and aside from the first couple weeks of every semester when parking is a bit more difficult in certain lots, there is always somewhere to park on campus at IUS. That's not the case at U of L. Freshmen commuter students at U of L have to park at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and ride a TARC bus to school every day.
Most people who live in Louisville think that because they have to cross a bridge it takes so much longer to get to Indiana than it does anywhere in Louisville. The reality is that getting to IUS doesn't really take all that much longer from most Louisville neighborhoods than it takes to get to U of L:
- From 21C Museum Hotel – 7 minutes to U of L / 14 minutes to IUS
- From Mall St. Matthews – 15 minutes to U of L / 21 minutes to IUS
- From Churchill Downs – 11 minutes to U of L / 21 minutes to IUS
- From ear X-tacy – 8 minutes to U of L / 20 minutes to IUS
- From Waverly Hills Sanatorium – 20 minutes to U of L / 26 minutes to IUS
So it might take an extra 6 to 12 minutes to get to IUS than to get to U of L—certainly you would spend more time than that waiting for the shuttle and riding it from Cardinal Stadium to U of L. At least in the commute to IUS you would be in your own car (distances obtained through Google Maps).
Indiana University Degree
Some make the argument that U of L is the superior choice because the University of Louisville is very well-known where not many people outside of the area have heard of Indiana University Southeast. But the reality is that when you receive your diploma after four years of hard work, it says Indiana University, not Indiana University Southeast, and no one can make the argument that U of L is more well-known than IU.
Mandatory Meal Plan
Remember all of the hype last year over the U of L mandatory meal plan? Well, the talk has disappeared but the meal plan hasn't—all full-time undergraduate students at U of L are required to buy at least a $175 meal plan each semester to be used to buy food on campus. If you don't care to eat on campus, then you can just consider that a donation because you're paying it anyway. IUS still runs on the pay-for-what-you-buy system.
If you want to print something at U of L, it costs ten cents a page. At IUS, full-time students get a printing allotment of 840 pages every semester. When I was there, I always had at least 200 pages of free printing still available at the end of the semester.
If I had to be an undergraduate student all over again, I would choose IUS every time over U of L for the above reasons and many more. Of course, there are some circumstances where choosing IUS isn't an option—I went to U of L for graduate school because they didn't offer a Master of Arts in English program at IUS. But for many students, the option of avoiding the U of L tuition hike by choosing to enroll instead at IUS is a possibility that should, if nothing else, be seriously considered.
Photo: Michael Maupin