WMU News

Board approves 1997-98 tuition and fees

July 25, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees July 25 approved rates for tuition and fees for 1997-98. It had tabled the recommended rates at its previous meeting June 27 to allow time for public comment.

For full-time Michigan freshmen and sophomores taking 31 credit hours, the increase amounts to $322.90 for 1997-98. The total includes a 5.5 percent increase in tuition over last year's tuition and fees, an increase in the University's fee for technology and the addition of an infrastructure fee for deferred maintenance.

"Any increase imposes a burden on our students and their families, and we regret this," said WMU President Diether H. Haenicke last month in recommending the increase to the board. "Unfortunately, increased costs and our relative position in state support make this increase necessary to preserve our quality.

"WMU is the fourth largest and most complex of the state's 15 public universities, assuring our students a high quality education," he said. "Yet our level of per student state support ranks seventh while our tuition and fees were 13th this past year."

Haenicke noted that, even with this year's increase, WMU's average annual increase for five years is lower than the state five-year average. WMU's average annual increase between 1993-94 and 1997-98 is $170 while the state average is $182, based on rates other institutions have set or are expected to set.

"This means that, with our high quality and relatively low cost, WMU remains a great value for our students," he said. "This year's increase helps us to maintain the quality our students and their families have come to expect from WMU, which is a smart investment for all of us."

Haenicke emphasized that WMU will seek to soften the impact of this year's increase, as it has in previous years, by increasing institutional funds for student financial aid by a percentage comparable to the increase in tuition. He pointed out that 70 percent of WMU's students receive some form of financial aid.

Haenicke cited increased costs, only a moderate increase in state appropriations and the need for new initiatives in explaining this year's tuition and fees level. State appropriations increased 4 percent for WMU for 1997-98. Increased costs include employee compensation, utilities, supplies and library acquisitions. Initiatives include new computer resources for faculty members, computer support services, additional faculty positions and gender equity in intercollegiate athletics.

The increase in fees includes a boost of $25 in what formerly was called the computer fee, bringing the level of what now is called a technology fee to $75 per semester for fall and winter and $37.50 per session for spring and summer. Part-time students will pay $37.50 per semester and $18.75 per session.

This is the first change in the fee since it was established 10 years ago. The additional funds are needed to provide service, repair, new facilities, upgraded software, new equipment and support services, officials said.

The University also is establishing an infrastructure fee of $45 per semester and $22.50 per session for full-time students. The fee would be $22.50 per semester and $11.25 per session for part-time students. Several other state universities have similar fees.

The fee will help to cover the cost of repairs on buildings and other facilities, often called deferred maintenance, officials said. Most of the University's buildings are 25 to 35 years old and are in need of repair, for which state funding has been inconsistent and unpredictable.

Both the technology and infrastructure fees will be for students registered for on-campus courses and will be incorporated into the University's enrollment fee. With the changes in the fees, the enrollment fee per semester is now $289. A student assessment fee of $8 per semester will not change.

A full-time Michigan freshman or sophomore will pay $3,655.25 in tuition and fees for 1997-98, an increase of $322.90 or 9.7 percent from last year's total of $3,332.35, based on 31 credit hours. This will rank WMU in seventh place among the state's 15 public universities in tuition and fees, based on increases known or expected at other schools.

Here are the new tuition rates per credit hour for in-state students, with last year's rates in parentheses: freshmen and sophomores, $98.75 ($92.85); juniors and seniors, $110.95 ($104.40); graduate, $141.75 ($133.40). Rates for out-of-state students are: freshmen and sophomores, $250.65 ($236.80); juniors and seniors, $281.75 ($266.30); and graduate, $344.60 ($325.65).


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