WMU News

President's letter announces tuition increase

July 24, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- In a letter today to WMU students, Dr. Judith I. Bailey, president of Western Michigan University, announced increases in tuition and fees for the 2003-04 academic year and detailed the reasons for the increases. The complete text of Bailey's letter follows.

Dear WMU Students and Families:

In the coming days, you will receive a bill for tuition and fees for the fall semester.

This year's bills for all students enrolled in Michigan universities will be larger than in the past because of the cuts the state has been forced to make in higher education funding. For Western Michigan University, those cuts, combined with increasing costs and record enrollments, will mean our university's per-student funding will be reduced to 1991 levels. As a result, we must deal with a $34.8 million budget shortfall.

Since May 9, when I was appointed to the presidency, I have been meeting with the institution's senior officials to put together a budget plan for the coming year that will address the significant challenges we face. Our overriding objective during the process was to protect student access to classes and quality instruction. The plan, which was approved by our Board of Trustees July 16, includes a reduction of 180 non-instructional positions across the university and operating budget cuts in non-academic areas of more than 15 percent.

We have made painful decisions that will mean our already lean staff will become even leaner. Personnel cuts will not occur in instructional areas, but will be felt in areas that range from student service and administrative staff to clerical and custodial employees. Athletic expenses will be reduced, our library acquisitions budget will be seriously cut back, and equipment and preventative maintenance budgets will suffer. Those items represent just a small sample of the cuts we are making.

However, even after taking these serious measures, an increase in tuition and fees is necessary for the 2003-04 academic year. This increase will result in the average Michigan student paying $305 to $342 more per semester than in 2002-03, depending on undergraduate or graduate status. The increased cost for non-Michigan residents will range from $720 to $803. However, for our neediest students, we will offset this increase with a similar amount of additional financial aid.

Enclosed with this letter is specific information that will help you determine what your tuition and fees will be. New residence hall rates also are included as well as important information from the Registrar's Office designed to help you manage your university account. Such information also is available online by visiting the Registrar's Office Web site at <www.wmich.edu/registrar>.

I deeply regret that the cost of a WMU degree will increase this year. However, even with this tuition increase, this university will remain among the best values in higher education.

Our costs will continue to rank only eighth among the state's 15 public universities, even though WMU is one of Michigan's four largest, most complex and highly regarded research institutions. The coming year's tuition and required fees will continue to be less than what is charged at the University of Michigan, MSU, Michigan Tech, Ferris State, Grand Valley, Eastern Michigan and U of M-Dearborn.

Finally, you have my pledge that we will continue to do our best to maintain WMU's position as one of the state's premier institutions and one of the best values in higher education. Those are the qualities that have served us well throughout our history and the ones that brought you here to study.

This fall, we will mark WMU's 100th anniversary of service to the state and nation. It will be a wonderful time to be a part of this university community and I am delighted that you will be here to share the excitement.

Sincerely,
Judith I. Bailey
President

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


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