Trustees OK 2013-14 tuition rates, student-initiated fees

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Photo of WMU sign.

The Board of Trustees set tuition during its June 12 meeting.

KALAMAZOO—Acting at its June 12 meeting, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved recommendations to increase both tuition and required fees for 2013-14 in a way that will keep WMU the best value among Michigan's 15 public universities.

2013-14 tuition

Effective with the start of the fall 2013 semester, annual costs for a full-time Michigan freshman or sophomore to attend WMU will be $10,355—an increase of $373 or 3.75 percent more than the previous year's cost. The increase includes a 3.57 percent tuition increase and a $47 increase in required fees—$26 of which was initiated by students and approved during a campuswide vote of the student body.

"Students come to Western Michigan University because they want the benefits and academic quality of a research university at an affordable price," President John M. Dunn says. "Everything we do is focused on preserving both that academic quality and the level of accessibility our students deserve. This is one of only five Carnegie-designated research universities in Michigan, and we are determined to keep a research university education within reach of as many students as we can."

An estimated general fund budget for the coming year, also approved by the board at the June 12 meeting, itemized uses for the new tuition revenue. The funds will be devoted to instruction, academic support, student services, institutional support, and operations and maintenance of the physical plant.

Student-initiated fees

The fee increases include a $10 annual student media fee and a $16 annual fee aimed at providing student transportation between the University's main campus in Kalamazoo and its aviation campus in Battle Creek, Mich. Both of the student-initiated fees were approved by the WMU student body and recommended to the board for implementation. In addition, an annual $21 student transportation fee approved by the board June 12 will be used to offset the cost of providing on-campus Bronco Transit bus service for all students.

Only three other Michigan universities have set tuition levels for the coming year, but University officials say it is clear that WMU will remain among the most affordable schools in the state and will likely retain its status as Michigan's lowest-cost research university.  Despite its status, complexity and high number of degree offerings, WMU has consistently been in the lower half of Michigan's public universities in terms of cost of attendance—ranking 10th out of 15 in each of the past three years.

While a full-time Michigan freshman or sophomore will pay $10,355 annually to attend WMU, the new tuition rates mean a full-time, out-of-state freshman or sophomore will pay $24,109 for the full academic year. Resident and nonresident graduate students will pay $496.69 and $1,052.01 per credit hour, respectively.

For undergraduate students, the term "full-time" refers to students taking 12 to 15 credit hours per semester. Students who take more than 15 credits will be assessed a per-credit-hour cost for each credit above the 15-credit level. Students who take fewer than 12 credits pay on a per-credit basis, as well. The per-credit-hour rate for Michigan residents at the freshman or sophomore level is set at $327.31.

A complete outline of tuition and fees for the 2013-14 academic year can be found at wmich.edu/registrar/tuition.

In late 2012, WMU was identified by Washington Monthly magazine as one of the nation's top-100 national universities, with the publication's editors giving its highest marks to "colleges that are both effective and inexpensive." By focusing on institutions that combine higher-than-expected graduation rates with affordable prices, editors said, "we are able to offer a true measure of where the biggest 'bang for the buck' is to be found in higher education."

The University's commitment to accessibility extends to the cost of living in campus housing. Students who live in WMU's residence hall system and have lived there each consecutive year since their first year as WMU students will continue to pay their entering rate. That room-and-board freeze is an element of a program called the Western Edge.

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