WMU News

Records initiation fee reduced by 40 percent

Sept. 18, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Acting at its Sept. 17, meeting the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a revision to the entering student records initiation fee that will reduce the fee from $500 to $300, as part of an agreement with the state that will qualify WMU to receive increased state funding.

The board's approval means that once the 2004-05 higher education appropriations bill is signed into law, the University will rebate the $200 differential to each impacted student.

"When this fee was adopted, it was totally consistent with the governor's tuition restraint agreement," said WMU President Judith I. Bailey, who presented the motion to the board. "However, as the budget process unfolded, our fee, along with actions taken by several other universities, became points of contention. It was in the best interests of all of our students to reach a compromise on this fee, so that we could receive the additional state funding support that was part of the tuition restraint agreement and that we had built into the University's 2004-05 budget."

In her December executive order that reduced state appropriations to state universities by 5 percent, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm pledged that each state university that held its tuition increase to the cost of inflation--2.4 percent--would have 3 percent of that 5 percent cut returned to its base state appropriation. For WMU, that 3 percent in returned funding amounts to nearly $3.4 million. Accepting the terms of the agreement, WMU trustees approved a 2.4 percent tuition increase in February.

Bailey noted the entering student records initiation fee was put in place last April to help fund a new student information system that is needed to replace the current system that is more than 20 years old and is not in compliance with recent state legislation that prohibits the use of social security numbers in student records. This prohibition is intended to protect students from identity theft. The new records initiation fee replaced a $100 Entering Student Development Fee previously paid by new students.

A total of 6,442 students entering WMU this fall were assessed the new records initiation fee and will be eligible for a refund or credit. The total financial impact of the refunds and credits on the University budget for the entire 2004-05 year will be a loss of $1,685,200.

As of Sept. 13, there were 4,182 students who had paid the fee and will be eligible for the $200 refund by check, less any unpaid balances on their accounts. The remaining 2,260 students who have not yet paid the fee will have their accounts credited for $200, less any unpaid account balance.

Related article
Revised 2004-05 operating budget approved

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

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