Central Michigan University has some of the cheapest room-and-board rates in the state.
A four-year report, released by CMU, details and ranks rates of 13 Michigan universities from the most expensive to least expensive. In 2010, CMU ranked as the fifth most expensive room and board rate in the state. This year, the $8,544 rate, $185 below the average, came in at No. 10, boasting only a $452 increase since 2010.
According to John Fisher, associate vice president for Residences and Auxiliary Services, CMU works hard to offer low cost options for students.
“Each year, we review our operational expenses and look for ways to reduce costs to students without adversely affecting the quality or level of service,” he said.
The average increase in room and board rates from the 2012-13 academic year to this year across the 13 universities was 3.08 percent, a full figure above CMU’s flat 2 percent increase.
“Cost-saving measures include energy conservation improvements, such as more efficient lighting and heating, preventative maintenance, replacing equipment with more energy-efficient units and continuing to practice user conservation programs,” Fisher said.
Oakland University saw the largest increase in rates, with a 4.5 percent increase from last year, ranking them at No. 9 on the list. OU has increased its room and board rates by $896 since 2010.
Fellow Mid-American Conference schools Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University increased their rates by greater amounts than CMU has. EMU saw a 3.75-percent jump and WMU saw 3.25-percent increase, ranking them at Nos. 7 and 5, respectively.
Michigan State University saw the largest dollar amount increase with an increase of $1,036 since 2010, coming in at No. 4.
According to Fisher, these increases are due to deferred maintenance and capital construction projects, problems he said CMU is in a better position to control than other universities.
“Some institutions are faced with extraordinary expenses in a given year such as deferred maintenance or the need for capital construction to replace aging facilities,” he said. “CMU has managed these expenses well, which, along with other cost saving measures, has resulted in fewer spikes in room and board increases over time.”
While rates might reflect some of the lowest costs in the state, Fisher said lower rates do not reflect lower quality.
“CMU’s housing facilities are in very good condition given the age of some units. It is a credit to good planning and reinvesting in our facilities,” he said. “I would be proud to compare our housing facilities with many of the prestigious universities around the country.”
Fisher expects CMU to remain affordable in the future, citing his confidence in competitive rates for 2014.