Tuition increase tabled pending state appropriation
June 1, 2001
KALAMAZOO -- With Western Michigan University's 2001-02 state appropriation still unknown, University trustees began considering tuition increases ranging from 7.7 to 16.9 percent at their May 30 meeting, but tabled final action on any increase until the board's June 22 meeting.
WMU President Elson S. Floyd presented the board with three different funding scenarios-each based on one of the proposed state appropriation levels for WMU and each containing a recommended tuition increase based on that level. The Michigan House of Representatives has recommended a 7 percent increase for WMU, the Senate has recommended 4.8 percent and Gov. John Engler's new revised budget calls for no increase.
"These are examples of the kind of funding increase we will have to work with if one of those current budget proposals becomes reality," Floyd said. "Of course, once the final appropriation level is approved, we will need to revisit these numbers and set our tuition rates accordingly."
The three tuition increase packages presented to trustees were: a 7.7 percent increase to correspond with the 7 percent appropriation increase proposed by the House; a 10.6 percent tuition increase, to accompany a state appropriation increase of 4.8 percent; and a 16.9 percent tuition increase to go into effect if state funding does not increase at all.
In his remarks, the president outlined some of the unusual increases in operating expenses WMU must grapple with for the coming year in addition to its usual fixed costs. He noted energy costs are expected to rise by 14.7 percent in the coming year. A 20 percent increase in health costs also is expected and one component of WMU's contribution to a state retirement plan will rise an estimated 15 percent.
"Just funding these unusual increases would require either a 4 percent state appropriation increase or a 5.5 percent tuition increase," Floyd told trustees.
Trustees tabled their decision until June to allow for public comment and to await the outcome of the state budget process.
In related action, the board also tabled a recommendation to increase to $60 per credit hour the current differential fee of $40 per credit hour that students in the University's continuing education programs pay to cover the University's additional expenses of providing off-campus education. The board is expected to vote on that proposal also at its June 22 meeting.
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