By Anna-Marie Menhenott
TREASURE COAST -- Due to careful financial planning, tuition costs and fees at Indian River State College will remain the same for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.
The College's operating budget of $83.9 million was approved by the District Board of Trustees on June 25 without increasing tuition, laboratory, technology or activities fees for the new school year.
"The cost of education is a very important factor for students and they do not want to incur a great deal of student debt," said Michelle Abaldo, director of institutional advancement at IRSC. "As a result, the affordable tuition at IRSC means more students are able to attend college and follow their dreams."
IRSC has a long-standing record of affordable tuition and is ranked the fifth Most Affordable College in the U.S., with enrollment more than 5,000, by the U.S. Department of Education Affordability and Transparency Report.
Administrative costs at IRSC are historically the lowest of all 28 state and community colleges in Florida, with IRSC ranking the highest in percent of funds going toward instruction.
One way IRSC has contained expenditures is through energy conservation and efficiency, resulting in electricity savings approaching $1 million dollars over the last three years.
"The entire college is focused on sustainability," Ms. Abaldo said. "IRSC has built its new buildings to Silver LEED standards. For example, the new Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship gets a third of its power from solar panels and wind energy. Energy is conserved in chiller plants and plantings have been added to parking lots for shade. Employees all turn off lights when they leave their office and students are engaged in recycling projects."
Also, Administrative positions have not been added and purchases of equipment, supplies and materials are carefully evaluated.
Associate level tuition for Florida residents will remain $103.83 per credit and $117.10 for Baccalaureate level college credit, 40 percent lower than Florida state universities and many thousands less than private career universities.
"About 70 percent of IRSC students receive financial aid. In fact, more than $40 million in financial aid is awarded to IRSC students annually. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by visiting the FAFSA website," Ms. Abaldo said.
IRSC is the leading institution of higher education on Florida's Treasure Coast with a record of larger graduating classes each year for the past 11 years. During the 2012-13 school year, IRSC awarded 3,200 Associate and Bachelor's degrees.
IRSC offers more than 150 programs including Bachelor's Degree programs, Associate in Arts programs for the first two years of college, Associate in Science programs to prepare for a career with two-years of study, and Quick Job Training programs. The college is planning to add Bachelor's Degree programs in accounting and elementary education.
The fall semester begins Aug. 26. Students can find out about financial aid at any IRSC campus by calling (772) 462-7450 or visiting www.fafsa.gov.