WMU trustees OK differential tuition rates for engineering majors

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Photo of engineering students.

Differential tuition for engineering students effective spring 2013

KALAMAZOO—Beginning with the spring 2013 semester, the Western Michigan University College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will adopt a differential tuition model that will boost the cost of tuition, reduce the amount of fees assessed, and preserve and enhance the quality of the student experience.

WMU trustees approved the plan at their Sept. 20 meeting. The college becomes the third of WMU's degree-granting colleges to adopt a differential model. The Haworth College of Business and the College of Fine Arts adopted similar plans in fall 2011. All revenue derived from the plan will stay in the engineering college, with 75 percent of the funds used to enhance academic programming and 25 percent dedicated to increased financial aid.

The additional funds will help the college provide the high-quality faculty and specialized support staff, dedicated laboratory space, equipment, software licenses and extensive consumables that are necessary to educate career-ready engineers.

The engineering plan would apply to all students affiliated with the college, beginning with their freshman year. They would be assessed a $40 per-credit-hour rate in addition to the applicable resident or nonresident tuition rate charged universitywide. The per-semester impact for a full-time student taking 15 credit hours would be $600. Per-semester fee reductions would average $145.

The tuition plan has been under discussion in the college for the past year, with students, faculty, alumni and advisory board members from private industry. The review included an analysis of the tuition practices at Michigan's four other research universities, as well as an additional competitor—all of which already charge differential tuition for their engineering programs. The plan proposed and approved by trustees means that WMU will likely have the second-lowest four-year tuition among the six schools, with the lowest just $137 behind WMU's amount.