Two WMU colleges adopting differential tuition model
Feb. 24, 2011
KALAMAZOO--Following action Feb. 24 by the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees, students in two of the University's academic colleges--one of its smallest and one of its largest--will adopt differential tuition models this fall that will boost the cost of tuition, reduce the amount of fees assessed, and preserve and enhance the quality of the student experience.
WMU's College of Fine Arts and its Haworth College of Business will implement two separate differential tuition plans beginning fall 2011. Funding raised through the plan will stay in the colleges, with 75 percent of the funds used to directly ensure the totality of the student experience is of the highest quality. The remaining 25 percent in each college will be used for financial aid for students in the college to reduce the impact of the new tuition structure. Course fees would be eliminated or reduced for students in both colleges.
The College of Fine Arts plan would apply to all students beginning with their freshman year. They would be assessed a $50 per-credit-hour rate in addition to the applicable resident or nonresident tuition rate charged universitywide. The per-semester impact for a full-time student taking 15 credit hours would be $750. Per-semester fee reductions would average $107.
For the Haworth College of Business, the plan would only apply to students in their junior and senior years. Those students would be assessed a $40 per-credit-hour differential tuition rate, in addition to the resident or nonresident rate already in place for the academic year. The per-semester impact for a full time student taking 15 credit hours would be $600.
The recommendations were first presented to the board at its Dec. 17 meeting and tabled to allow time for public comment. The board brought both recommendations back for a formal vote at its Feb. 24 meeting and both measures passed unanimously.
Both plans have been under review and development for the past 15 months, according to Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the business college, and Dr. Margaret Merrion, fine arts dean. In presenting their respective plans to trustees, they noted that college administrators, faculty and students were involved and provided feedback during the development process.
Differential tuition is common in research universities nationwide, including those in Michigan. Such initiatives are common in business and engineering colleges and less so in fine arts programs, but Merrion notes that the high cost of programs in the arts make it a logical place to launch such an initiative.
The Haworth College of Business plans to use the additional funding raised by the proposal to reduce class size and increase advising opportunities by hiring additional faculty and to support key business programs such as the Haworth College of Business Career Center, the Business Community Residence program; and the business cohort initiative that allows students to develop a group of students with whom they take classes.
For the College of Fine Arts, officials say the funding will be used to sustain the distinctive qualities of its internationally known and professionally accredited programs. Funding will assure students study with the highest quality professors, and have substantive interaction with visiting artists and professionals in the industry to move their careers forward. Additional areas to benefit students include travel support to participate in workshops, institutes and conferences; technology-embedded curricula; small class size; individual mentoring; and personalized advising.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org