Is Ball State a Good School? College Spotlight

Although Ball State University has a massive campus in Muncie, Indiana, it offers an assortment of online degrees and certificates, too. This is why many students who wish to attend college traditionally as well as those who find distance learning more appropriate apply to it.

Ball State University is a good school for students with a slightly above-average GPA. The college is also good for those who prefer test-optional schools. Ball State University is famous for undergraduate programs such as Liberal Arts, Sciences Studies, and Elementary Education.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important matters you need to know about Ball State University.

But first, check the A College Kid podcast episode with Gina, a student at Ball State University. She shares her experience of having to work after school before she could attend college:

Why is Ball State called Ball State?

Ball State University is called Ball State University to show respect and honor for the five Ball brothers who founded the school. They are Lucius, William, Edmund, Frank, and George. They also founded the Ball Corporation, which is the maker of the Ball canning jar and many other canning products.

The Ball brothers were born to Lucius Styles Ball (a farmer and an inventor) and Maria Polly Bingham Ball (a schoolteacher).

Born in Ohio, the Ball brothers moved to Buffalo, New York. After establishing the Ball Corporation, they moved to Muncie, Indiana in 1886. Their business grew there, which let them buy the land and buildings for Ball State University.

Ball State Timeline

Ball State University was established in 1918 in Muncie, Indiana. When it was founded, it was called Indiana State Normal School (Eastern Division). The name Ball Teachers College was added to its name in 1922. In 1965, the school became a University. The campus itself was already around in 1899.

Like many other schools, the name of Ball State wasn’t Ball State University when it came into being. As a matter of fact, it underwent several name changes through the years.

Ball State University

Let’s take a look at the many names Ball State University had…

  • 1899. The land and buildings were obtained by the Ball brothers, donated them to the state, and opened a private school, the Eastern Indiana Normal University Association.
  • 1901. Unfortunately, the Eastern Indiana Normal University Association went out of business because of low enrollment numbers.
  • 1902. However, just a year after the Eastern Indiana Normal University Association closed its doors, it reopened as Palmer University.
  • 1905. Palmer University changed its name to Indiana Normal College. It had two divisions, too. They are Normal School (for educating teachers) and College of Applied Sciences.
  • 1907. Indiana Normal College closed because of its failure in an attempt at post-secondary education.
  • 1912. After five years, the school reopened once again. This time around, it was named the Indiana Normal Institute.
  • 1917. The Indiana Normal Institute closed. That’s because it could not keep up with steep mortgage payments even though the school had its largest student body, which peaked at 806 students.
  • 1918. The Ball brothers donated land in Terre Haute, Indiana, which the state legislature placed under the management of the Indiana State Normal School. On the other hand, the Indiana Normal Institute in Muncie, Indiana started to operate again as the Indiana State Normal School (Eastern Division). It’s in this year when Ball State University, as it stands today, was founded.
  • 1922. Indiana State Normal School (Eastern Division) changed its name to Ball Teachers College. Needless to say, it’s to give honor to the Ball brothers.
  • 1929. Ball Teachers College was renamed Ball State Teachers College, still honoring the generosity of the Ball brothers.
  • 1961. Ball State Teachers College was renamed Ball State College to commemorate a milestone: the school became completely independent from Indiana State University.
  • 1965. Finally, Ball State College was elevated to university status. It’s because of this why the school changed its name to Ball State University.

Famous People that Went to Ball State?

Many famous people attended or graduated from Ball State University. Some of them are politicians, scientists, business people, athletes, and TV and movie personalities. The affiliation of prominent people with a school makes the learning institution appear more reliable and capable of providing quality education necessary for a brighter future.

Before applying to a school, it’s customary for many students to first check out the learning institution’s roster of alumni. Mainly, they look for names of famous people that attended or graduated from the school.

Having prominent alumni can help attract more students to the university. It doesn’t come as a surprise since having successful former students can speak volumes about the quality of education the school offers.

So, in other words, going to a school with many famous alumni could increase your chance of having success, too, after graduating.

Here are some of the most notable alumni of Ball State University whose names may sound familiar to you…

  • David Letterman. It’s no secret that David Letterman was the host of the Late Show With David Letterman. Ran for 30 years, the show was the longest tenured late-night talk show in the US ever. Besides being a TV host, David Letterman is also a writer, producer and the owner of an automobile racing team (Rahal Letterman Lanigan).
  • Ray Boltz. If you are into Christian tunes, then the name Ray Boltz may ring a bell. He is a singer and songwriter who first appeared in the contemporary Christian music scene. Ray Boltz, whose songs mostly talked about faith and inspiration, bagged a couple of Dove Awards — Song of the Year (for the song “Thank You”) and Inspirational Song Award (for the song “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb”).
  • Joyce DeWitt. An American actress, Joyce DeWitt earned her bachelor’s degree in theater from Ball State University. She is known for playing Janet Wood, a bubbly brunette, on the ABC TV sitcom Three’s Company. Joyce DeWitt also guested in many popular TV shows. Some of them include The Ropers, The Love Boat, Cybill and Hope Island.
  • Daniel Baldwin. Needless to say, Daniel Baldwin is one of the Baldwin brothers — he is the second oldest. Daniel Baldwin was Detective Beau Felton in the hit NBC TV series Homicide: Life on the Street. He starred in a number of movies, too, including Grey Gardens, Stealing Candy, The Pandora Project, and Vampires. He also had a program on the radio station WTLA for two years, The Daniel Baldwin Show.
  • John Schnatter. His nickname is Papa John. Based on that alone, it’s easy to assume that John Schnatter is the American businessman who founded Papa John’s Pizza back in 1984. However, in 2018, John Schnatter stepped down as the CEO of the fourth largest pizza restaurant and delivery chain in the US after a controversy involving the National Football League (NFL) commissioner, Roger Goodell.
  • Stedman Graham. Many people know Stedman Graham as the long-time partner of TV host, producer, actress, author and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey. Not too many know that he is also an author, businessman, speaker, and educator. It is from Ball State University where Stedman Graham earned his bachelor’s degree in education.
  • Jeffrey J. Owens. An American businessman, Jeffrey J. Owens was the former vice president of Delphi Corporation, a worldwide supplier of vehicle electronics and transportation components, as well as the former president of Delphi Electronics Safety. Currently, Jeffrey J. Owens is a board member of Rogers Corp. and Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Inc. He is also a trustee of Kettering University.
  • Angela Ahrendts. From 2006 to 2014, Angela Ahrendts was the CEO of Burberry, a British luxury fashion house based in London. She then became the senior vice president of retail for Apple Inc. By the way, back in 2015, Angela Ahrendts was ranked 25th in the Forbes’ list of the most powerful women in the world. In the same year, she was ranked 9th most powerful woman in the UK in the Woman’s Hour 100 Power List by BBC Radio 4.
  • Brad Maynard. Ball State University has a football team, and one of the most prominent people that ever played on it was former Ball State student Brad Maynard. A former American football punter, Brad Maynard had a prolific career in the world of sports. For instance, during the third round of the National Football League (NFL) Draft in 1997, he was drafted by the New York Giants. Brad Maynard also played for various football teams, such as the Houston Texans, the Cleveland Browns, and the Chicago Bears.
  • Richard Mourdock. From 2007 to 2014, Richard Mourdock served as the treasurer of Indiana. With the full support of the Tea Party movement, he defeated six-term incumbent US Senator Richard Lugar. This happened back in the Republican primary election in May 2012. Richard Mourdock is a geologist, too. He got his Master of Arts in geology from Bell State University in 1975.

How big is Ball State?

Ball State University
Ball State University

The campus of Ball State University, which has a suburban setting, is 1,140 acres. That is equivalent to approximately 855 football fields or 1,824 tennis courts. The school has 109 buildings, the majority of which are in the two main quadrangles. Ball State University has satellite facilities, too.

What’s amazing about the Ball State University campus is that many of its buildings are sustainable.

So, in other words, they were designed to meet the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). As a matter of fact, 20% of the school’s waste is recycled.

By the way, the two satellite facilities of Ball State University are located in Fishers and Indianapolis, both of which are in Indiana.

How safe is Ball State University?

Ball State University is located in Muncie, Indiana, where the crime rate is higher than average. Statistics say that there are 35 crimes per 1,000 Muncie residents. Back in 2019, there were 573 reported safety-related incidents that involved students on or near the Ball State University campus.

Earlier, it was mentioned that Ball State University is located in a suburban setting.

Despite this, the crime rate involving the students of the school is not the lowest in the US. Many schools reported much fewer crime rates than that of Ball State University.

The number of reported safety-related incidents mentioned above was obtained from a 2019 study.

The said study took into consideration the reported crime and safety data involving 3,990 colleges and universities across the US.

Again, Ball State University reported a total of 573 safety-related incidents. Out of the 3,990 participating schools, 3,872 reported fewer incidents than those of Ball State University.

Let’s break down the reported incidents by location:

  • 92.7% – Took place on the campus
  • 5.2% – Took place around the campus
  • 2.1% – Took place off-campus but on properties associated with Ball State University.

How much does it cost to go to Ball State?

The average cost of going to Ball State University for one school year is $24,962. After financial aid, going to the school for a year is $15,020. The cost of going to Ball State University for one school year is notably higher for out-of-state students. It amounts to $41,742 before financial aid.

In the US, the average cost of going to a public school (in-state) is $20,770. On the other hand, the average cost of going to a non-profit private school is $46,950.

Based on the figures above, the cost of going to Ball State University for one school year is just slightly above the average amount of going to a public school, provided that the student is in-state.

The cost is just a little over 50% of the cost of going to a public school for one year.

The good news is that the already cheaper cost of going to Ball State University can become easier on the pocket by means of financial aid.

However, the amount can change dramatically for any out-of-state student wanting to go to Ball State University.

How long do you need to live in Indiana to get in-state tuition?

To benefit from the Ball State University’s in-state tuition, which is cheaper than out-of-state tuition, one must permanently live in Indiana for 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of classes. The person should also be physically present in Indiana for a purpose besides going to college.

Many things can be done to make going to college easier on the pocket. One of those is paying in-state tuition.

Out-of-state tuition charged to non-residents of Indiana is almost double the amount of in-state tuition that Indiana residents have to pay per school year.

The good news is that meeting the above-mentioned requirements will allow you to enjoy in-state tuition.

Besides providing proof of state residence and domicile (a permanent home and not just temporary residence), the following also provide evidence for eligibility for Ball State University’s cheaper in-state tuition:

  • Ownership of a home in Indiana.
  • Physical presence in the state even when not enrolled as a student.
  • Graduation from a secondary school in Indiana immediately prior to college.
  • Reliance on state sources for financial support.
  • Obtaining an Indiana driver’s license.
  • Owning and operating a business in Indiana.
  • Being a full-time employee in the state.
  • Marriage to someone who is an Indiana resident.
  • Filing state and federal income tax returns with a state residential address.

How much is room and board at Ball State?

Students who wish to avail of the room and board provided by Ball State University have to pay $10,870 per school year. The average room and board cost at private non-profit schools is $12,682 a year. On the other hand, the average room and board cost at private for-profit schools is $10,654 a year.

Based on the figures above, the cost of room and board at Ball State University every school year is cheaper than the average cost of room and board at a private non-profit school.

The cost is cheaper than the room and board cost at a private for-profit school, but not by much.

Unfortunately, students who wish to live on the Ball State University campus will pay more than just the sticker price of $10,870.

It is recommended for them to include in their budget an average of $2,688 in additional living expenses.

How many students attend Ball State University?

For the school year 2018-2019, there were a total of 21,884 students enrolled at Ball State University. Of those students, 16,160 (73.84%) were undergraduate students and 5,724 (26.16%) were graduate students. 15,926 (72.77%) were full-time students and 5,958 (27.23%) were part-time students.

Ball State University offers distance learning. So, in other words, the school offers online degree programs. For the same school year, there were 5,037 students enrolled online.

The acceptance rate of Ball State University is 65%.

In the US, the average acceptance rate among colleges and universities that reported their admissions statistics is 68% — 22 of those schools said they accept 100% of all applicants.

Compared to the acceptance rates of Ivy League schools that range anywhere from 4% to 10%, it’s plain to see that Ball State University is competitive but not that entirely selective.

What GPA do you need to get into Ball State?

Ball State University requires its applicants to have a 3.5 GPA. The average GPA required by US colleges and universities is 3.15. This means that a slightly above average high school student, with many A’s and B’s and very few C’s, has a very good chance of being accepted to Ball State University.

A 3.5 GPA may not be enough to get you accepted to an Ivy League school or any elite learning institution. However, it is good enough for Ball State University.

If your GPA is lower than the required 3.5 and you desperately want to go to Ball State University, fret not.

Taking challenging courses, such as AB or IP classes, can help make your weighted GPA look better. It will also give the admissions officers of Ball State University the idea that you got what it takes to take college courses.

Does Ball State require SAT or ACT?

Ball State University is one of those test-optional schools. It means that it doesn’t require its applicants to submit their SAT or ACT test scores. According to the school, this lets the students decide whether their eligibility to go to Ball State University is based on their academic performance.

In the past, Ball State University required applicants to submit their SAT or ACT test scores together with other requirements. However, this tradition came to a stop back in August 2018.

But just to give you an idea, the average SAT test scores of students who got accepted before August 2018 was between 1,080 and 1,240.

On the other hand, the average ACT test scores of students who got accepted before August 2018 were 20 to 24.

Ball State University guarantees that not submitting your SAT and ACT test scores will not be held against you.

Does Ball State have rolling admissions?

Ball State University has rolling admissions. It means that the school evaluates applications as they are received. The deadline for applications is the same as regular decision. However, the acceptance letters are sent by the school as soon as its admissions officers have made a decision.

If you are not fully confident that the schools that you apply to will welcome you, it’s a great idea to apply to schools with rolling admissions.

One very good example is Bell State University.

The reason why it is more likely for you to get an acceptance letter from Bell State University is this: your application will not be judged in direct competition with everybody else who has applied.

Because your application will be evaluated by the admissions officers of Bell State University as soon as they get it, your only competition is you.

Besides having an increased chance of getting accepted to Bell State University, there are many other perks that come with rolling admissions. Some of them are:

  • You have plenty of time to complete your application. However, Ball State University has priority deadlines, unlike other schools with rolling admissions that accept applications anytime. The priority deadlines of Ball State University are March 1 (for the fall semester) and December 1 (for the spring semester).
  • You can know quickly if you’re accepted or not. One thing that makes applying for college stressful and nerve-racking for students is the waiting game involved. Since Ball State University accepts applications on a rolling basis, there is no need for you to wait (and feel anxious) for a long time — the school will let you know as soon as it gets your application and makes a decision.

A quick tip: Even though you got all the time in the world to apply since Ball State University has rolling admissions, it’s a great idea to send your application as soon as possible before the available slots get filled.

Just Before You Apply to Ball State University

Above, we talked about some of the things that could help you figure out the answer to the question: Is Ball State a good school?

It may not be an Ivy League school, but it has positives that make it a complete standout as well as attractive to many types of students in pursuit of a college diploma or certificate.

Ball State University offers about 120 majors and 100 graduate degrees. Some of the most popular undergraduate programs of the school include Liberal Arts, Sciences Studies, and Elementary Education.

To get accepted, you don’t have to be at the top of your class. Being slightly above average is enough to increase your chance of attending Ball State University.

There is no need to fret if you are not proud of your SAT or ACT test scores. That’s because submitting them during the application process is not a necessity.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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