Western board votes to keep tuition increase well below cap proposed by state officials

Contact: Megan Looker

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—In keeping with the University’s commitment to providing an affordable and high-quality education, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a tuition and required fee increase that falls well below the tuition-increase restraint cap proposed by the governor and Michigan Senate. 

Tuition and required fees will rise by 3.2% for the 2021-22 academic year under the pricing plan recommended by administration and approved by the board at its June meeting Thursday. Trustees also adopted the University’s general operating budget of $379 million for the fiscal year set to begin July 1 and set housing rates.

Though the state has not yet finalized its overall budget, the governor and the two chambers of the Michigan Legislature have submitted proposed spending plans for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The Senate and governor’s proposals each ask that public universities keep tuition increases to no more than 4.2%—or $590—whichever is greater. The latest Michigan House proposal does not include tuition-restraint language.

Starting this fall, the annual costs for a full-time state resident who is newly admitted to the University as a freshman will be $13,434 in tuition and required fees, which is up by $417 over the previous year.

“Amid rising expenses and uncertainty surrounding WMU’s state operational funding, ensuring the educational experience at Western is both exceptional and affordably priced is the focus of our decision-making process when we determine tuition,” says Dr. Jennifer Bott, provost and vice president for academic affairs, noting the University did not increase tuition for the 2020-21 academic year. 

“As we seek to balance affordability and quality, we understand that paying for college is a challenge for many students and their families, which is why we also increase financial assistance when we set tuition,” says Bott. 

“We know a University degree has an incredible return on investment over a lifetime—in a person’s wages, their social mobility and their health. So our mission is to keep the promise of high-quality higher education accessible to our students.”

The full tuition and required fee schedule for the 2021-22 academic year will be  available at wmich.edu/registrar/tuition by end of the business day on June 25.

In a separate action, the board also set 2021-22 housing rates. Updated rates for residence halls and apartments will allow for continued maintenance and improvements to existing facilities, while remaining sensitive to student affordability. 

Room and Board Rates

Effective this fall, the board approved a 3% increase in student room and board rates for residence halls. The annual cost for room and board in a traditional residence hall with a 14-meal plan option will be $10,338. Housing costs vary according to room amenities and meal plans students choose. 

Complete rates for all halls with varying meal plan levels will be available at wmich.edu/housing/info/rates.

Apartment Rates

Trustees also approved rates for on-campus apartments and apartment-style residential units. Keeping costs in alignment with the surrounding community, per-person rates for existing unfurnished units will rise between $0 and $20 a month, depending on the complex, unit style and amenities chosen. Arcadia Flats, the newest campus housing complex offering a combination of living styles, will see no rate increases for 2021-22. Western View and Stadium Drive apartment rates will increase by 2.5%. 

Additional details about University apartment rates will be available at wmich.edu/housing/apartment-rates.

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