Trustees increase tuition rates, decrease operating budget for 2017-18 fiscal year


President George E. Ross listens to board members on Thursday, June 29 in the Bovee University Center President's Conference Room.

Undergraduate students will pay $417 per credit hour starting Aug. 1, an increase of almost 3 percent, after Central Michigan University's Board of Trustees set tuition rates at their June 29 meeting. 

Undergraduate tuition rates increased $12 increase from last year. Graduate tuition also increased, with in-state masters and specialist degree rates seeing a 4.93 percent rise to $575 per credit hour. In-state doctoral rates will also be increased 4.94 percent to $658 per credit hour.

President George Ross said the increase in tuition will not hinder CMU's ability to be competitive with other public universities in Michigan.

"I believe the burdens on students and their families for higher education is very demanding," Ross said. "That's why we've adopted a philosophy to be as low in (tuition) increases as possible. We have chosen to mitigate the increases, and consistently increase student aid.

"We understand the pressures, so that's why we keep supporting students."

The university will add $2.5 million to financial aid funds for students. That increase brings the total amount spent on financial aid to $51.3 million — a 5.2 percent increase from last year. 

Ross cited reports by HEIDI Tuition and Fees, which showed that CMU ranks lowest among public universities in Michigan in cumulative tuition increase since the 2010-2011 fiscal year. CMU saw just more than a 17 percent increase in total tuition in the 7-year period. In the same report, Western Michigan University saw a 23.6 percent increase, and Michigan State saw a 26.1 percent increase. 

Trustees also approved the operating budget for the 2017-2018 school year. The proposed budget will total just below $485 million, a 1.5 percent decrease from the budget for the 2016-2017 school year. The decrease is due to the university's decision to eliminate several vacant positions and making reductions in supplies and equipment funds. 

The board approved plans for a new on-campus building dedicated to the Integrated Health Studies program. The proposed building will cost $26 million dollars – $19.5 million of which will be supplied by the State of Michigan, with the university paying for the remaining $6.5 million using money from construction reserves. The facility will be 57,500 square feet, and will be located west of the College of Health Professions.