June 9, 2011 | WMU News
KALAMAZOO--Acting at its June 9 meeting, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees opted to honor Gov. Rick Snyder's request to keep cost increases below 7.1 percent, enacting a tuition and fee increase that will result in a 6.66 percent increase in the annual cost to attend WMU, beginning this fall.
Facing a more than $16 million cut in state appropriations as part of the Michigan budget just adopted in Lansing, the WMU board approved both a slight boost in enrollment fees and a tuition increase that together will mean a full-time Michigan freshman or sophomore will pay $9,606 in tuition and required fees for the 2011-12 academic year. That is an increase of $600 over 2010-11.
"We know the economic constraints our state is in, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to not only serve our state, but also to preserve and protect the program quality our students expect and deserve," Dunn says. "These are difficult economic times, but for our students, this is their time. We cannot infringe on the quality of their education, and we cannot tell them it's time to restrict their options, come back another year or curtail their hopes for the future."
With the state budget set, WMU moved to set tuition for the 2011-12 quickly so its students and families could have as much notice as possible, Dunn says. WMU officials are confident the University will remain Michigan's most affordable research university, and it will be in the bottom half of tuition costs among all 15 public universities in the state.
"We've worked very hard to contain our costs and remain a good value over the years," Dunn says, noting that last year, WMU was 10th in costs out of 15 public universities in Michigan and will likely remain close to that position this year.
The tuition and fee increases affect students at every level. The new tuition rates mean a full-time, out-of-state freshman or sophomore will pay $23,270 for the full academic year, while resident and nonresident graduate students will pay $459.80 and $973.87 per credit hour, respectively.
For undergraduate students, the term "full-time" refers to students who carry 12-15 credits per semester. Previously, WMU's full-time credit block was set at 12-16 credits per semester. The change means that students who take more than 15 credits will be assessed a per-credit-hour cost for each credit above the 15-credit level. Students who take fewer than 12 credits pay on a per-credit basis as well, with the per-credit-hour rate set at $303.
The overriding cause for this year's increase, WMU officials say, was the 15 percent cut in state appropriations. The cut takes WMU back to its early 1990s level of funding from the state and is more than $32 million below WMU's 2002 historical high in annual state support. With nearly a decade of state cuts, University officials have turned to budget reductions and cost avoidance measures that have amounted to more than $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 in higher education and the corporate world to the WMU campus in Kalamazoo to showcase best practices.
WMU offers more than 230 degree programs and has a student population of more than 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.