Tuition increase will boost student academic resources
July 23, 2010
KALAMAZOO--Acting at its July 23 meeting, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a 7.4 percent increase in tuition and required fees that will allow the University to make strategic investments in academic areas and boost academic resources available to students but still maintain its position as one of the nation's best values in higher education.
Just over 76 percent of the new tuition revenue will be funneled back to students in the form of more than $6 million in new financial aid, new faculty hires in areas of high student demand and critical need, and a boost to the number of academic advisors available to students.
"We've kept our costs low and managed to operate at levels of incredible quality and efficiency in recent years," says WMU President John M. Dunn.
"We will continue to do that and have already identified $3 million in reductions to the coming year's budget. But now it is also necessary to invest in a way that will meet the academic needs of our current students and allow us to build our programs in a way that will continue to increase the value of a WMU degree."
Dunn points out that WMU, which has long been the most affordable of Michigan's five research universities, will continue to hold that title. The University also will remain 10th in costs among all 15 of Michigan's public universities, with nine of those schools charging more to attend.
"We're pleased that we can say those things about WMU, but in the long run, the most meaningful measure we can offer our students is access," Dunn says.
"With every tuition increase, there are more individuals and families for whom we have to redouble our efforts and be more vigilant in containing costs and more committed to maintaining appropriate levels of student aid. The new financial aid funds we've assigned for next year will go to both need- and merit-based aid packages. We want to help families offset last year's loss of state scholarship funds, and we need to make sure our doors are always open to those talented students who will become our state's and nation's leaders."
Over the past decade, budget reductions and cost avoidance measures at WMU have amounted to $60 million. Budget reductions have focused on preserving academic quality while reducing nonacademic expenses. As a result, WMU has the second leanest administrative staffing levels of any of Michigan's public universities.
The University also has been recognized as a national leader in campus energy conservation and regularly attracts facilities personnel from other campuses and from the corporate world to the WMU campus in Kalamazoo to learn best practices in managing energy use.
The increases for the 2010-11 academic year will amount to $312 per semester or $624 per year for an in-state resident who is a full-time freshman or sophomore.
The increased rates adopted by the board include fee increases that account for 0.5 percent of the total increase. The fee changes include modest increases to existing Technology and Recreation fees of $25 and $15 per semester, respectively, and a new Sustainability Fee of $8 per semester approved by a vote of the WMU student body during the spring 2010 semester.
The new rates mean a full-time freshman or sophomore student who is a Michigan resident will pay $9,006 for the full academic year--fall and spring semesters. An out-of-state full-time freshman or sophomore will pay $20,894 in tuition and required fees, while resident and nonresident graduate students will pay $429.32 and $909.31 per credit hour, respectively.
WMU offers more than 230 degree programs and has a student population of some 25,000 students, with more than 20 percent of them enrolled at the graduate level. Classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a "high research" university, WMU is one of just five Michigan universities recognized with research university status and one of fewer than 200 such universities in the nation.
Go to wmich.edu/tuition to learn more about the new tuition rates.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org