Feature Article

Value & affordability at Purdue Calumet

How much are students and their families willing and able to pay to earn a million dollars?

That is a noteworthy question given that baccalaureate-degreed individuals over the course of their professional lives average $1 million more in earnings than those who have no more than a high school diploma.

Cost of greater earning power

While the prospect of generating an additional $1 million in income is certainly appealing, the cost to do so continues to be a hot button issue within higher education. Tuition and other necessary fees vary substantially among colleges and universities. But when you peel back the differences, one fact becomes obvious: the price tag of a college education—a Purdue University education—at Purdue University Calumet is among the lowest in Indiana.

During the current 2012-13 academic year, tuition and fees at Purdue Calumet for in-state undergraduate students is $231.95 per credit hour. Doing the math, the charge for full time students enrolled in a course load of 15 credit hours during each of the fall and spring semesters—a reasonable plan for earning a baccalaureate degree in four years—is $6,958.50.

That charge is less than Indiana University Northwest, Purdue West Lafayette and the vast majority of Indiana’s other colleges and universities. Add another $1,000 or so a year for textbooks and other course materials, and the annual cost hovers around $8,000.

Pay $35,000 to earn $1 million?

Projected over four years, is the total investment of what could amount to less than $35,000 to earn a Purdue degree at Purdue Calumet worth making to be prepared to earn an additional $1 million? That is the question student and prospective student families must ponder.

Besides greater earning power, a four-year degree equips our graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform challenging, new and emerging jobs demanded by progressive, cutting edge employers—the type of employers Indiana seeks to attract.

It is these opportunities that generate added revenue and value, contributing to a better developed and fortified economy for our region, state, nation and world.

Equipped for opportunities

The prospect of these opportunities is a key reason why Purdue Calumet and other Indiana colleges and universities have been challenged to graduate more students with baccalaureate degrees.

In her 2013 State of Higher Education Address, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers noted that “nearly two-thirds of the jobs in Indiana this decade will require more than a high school diploma;” yet, less than one-third of the state’s residents have a higher education.”

It has been surmised that a key factor in Indiana’s relatively low ranking among adults with an education beyond high school (40th among 50 states) relates to the price students must pay for their education.

But as value and affordability go, higher education shoppers are hard pressed to find a better deal than Purdue Calumet. That is a message all of us can help get out.