Lane tracks inflation to set tuition; Board of Education has yet to decide on next year’s tuition

The Lane Board of Education voted unanimously to select the Higher Education Price Index, a tool for measuring a college’s inflation, to guide them when considering the cost of tuition in the upcoming year.

HEPI is an average indicating the national rate of change for the costs of goods and services most commonly purchased by colleges and universities.

It’s compiled and maintained by The Commonfund Institute, a nonprofit organization that monitors college and university endowments.

The costs of goods and services calculated by HEPI includes salaries for personnel, benefits and the costs of miscellaneous materials.

Tuition increases to keep pace with inflation are considered separate from other general tuition increases.

The last time the board voted to raise tuition based on the HEPI was February 2013, when a $2 per-credit tuition increase was approved. Had the board not passed the HEPI last year, the resulting deficit would have been an approximately $800,000 shortfall for the current school year, due to inflation.

The board selected the HEPI over the Consumer Price Index to calculate its rate of inflation for tuition revenue for the upcoming year.

The CPI consists of a similar calculation to the HEPI — but it tracks the average national rate of change in the costs of goods and services most commonly purchased by households, not institutions.

Its rate is calculated by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While a number of institutions like Lane use the CPI as their tuition index, CPI at Lane is used to help calculate salaries for employees and faculty during collective bargaining agreements.

The HEPI fits the CPI pretty close,” Lane President Mary Spilde said.

Board member Pat Albright said he thought the HEPI had been an adequate tuition index for the college in the past.

Let’s not mess with what’s working,” Albright said.