Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder Discusses Your Tax Money at Work


For Tom Snyder’s Economic Club of Indiana speech Tuesday, it was largely a story of numbers (along with some video clips of Ivy Tech graduates telling their personal success stories).

Before going into the details of Ivy Tech’s growth, Snyder shared one statistic that affects all Indiana taxpayers – you are paying half of Ivy Tech students’ tuition. For that reason, Hoosiers need to know what’s happening with the community college, Snyder notes.

The school has seen an enrollment increase of more than 40,000 students since 2008. No longer can high school students decide between college and a high-paying factory job. Employers are calling for everyone to have some postsecondary education – whether it’s a four-year or two-year degree, Snyder states.

He offered this profile of the Ivy Tech student body:

  • Average age is 27
  • 25% are single mothers
  • 60% receive financial aid
  • 10,000 students are on food stamps
  • 25% transfer to a four-year school
  • 25,000 are enrolled at the Indianapolis campus (that’s more students than at Ball State University, Snyder asserts.)

Noting the high number of students who need remediation in math and English, Snyder turned to the audience to prove his point. Through an interactive demonstration, audience members took a five-question quiz based on math placement tests.

The audience used small remote control buzzers to answer questions such as: What is the smallest prime number? (Answer: 2) On most questions, about 60% or less answered correctly.

Snyder reminded the audience that while half of the tuition at Ivy Tech is covered by taxpayers, all of it is covered at the K-12 level. He shared his five steps to success in educating Indiana:

  1. Children are prepared for kindergarten
  2. Third grade students are reading at third grade level
  3. Students decide to go to college while in the eighth grade
  4. Students take math during their senior year of high school (helping prevent the need for remediation)
  5. Graduates continue on to earn a post K-12 credentials

Snyder concludes education is a shared responsibility; everyone is an educator.

After all, you’re footing the bill.

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