Trustees pass 3 percent tuition increase for 2019-20 academic year

Room and board rates to increase by 2.5 percent


Central Michigan University's Board of Trustees speak at the meeting April 11 in the Bovee University Center President's Conference Room.

Undergraduate tuition for Central Michigan University students returning for the 2019-20 academic year is $430 per credit hour, a 3 percent increase. Non-resident undergraduate tuition will remain $789 per credit hour.

CMU's Board of Trustees approved the new rate during its April 11 meeting. 

CMU is the first state university to release its undergraduate tuition rates for the upcoming year, said Joe Garrison, executive director of financial planning and budgets. Many institutions wait to learn more information about state appropriations before releasing rates. State appropriations make up 18 percent, or about $87 million, of CMU's operating budget, funding about 66 days of operation.

The $225 student services fee, which was approved by trustees at the June 2018 meeting, will continue next year at the same rate, said President Robert Davies. He said he will be working on releasing a more detailed description of where that money is going during June's budgeting process. 

Trustees also passed a 2.5 percent increase for room and board rates for the 2019-20 academic year, a $252 jump to $10,328. This will potentially set CMU's room and board rate as the ninth most expensive in the state, pending the release of other universities' rates. 

The university will also provide a "discounted housing option." Trustees approved a new 30 percent discount for students who opt to live with three other roommates, instead of two, in the Towers residential halls. 

"This is part of our efforts to remain affordable for students and provide options and flexibility," Davies said. "Students can choose to live where they feel comfortable, and (it) gives them some decision making authority."

Trustees also approved an upper/lower level tuition structure, which will begin in the fall. Freshmen and sophomores – students with fewer than 56 credit hours – will pay $417 per credit hour. Once a student exceeds 56 credit hours, they will be charged a higher tuition rate, a 4 percent increase to $434 per credit hour. 

This differential rate will not apply to current and continuing CMU students. It will only go into effect next semester for new, incoming students with 56 credit hours or more in Fall 2019 – only affecting a number of transfer students coming in with more than 56 credit hours, said Barrie Wilkes, vice president of finance and administrative services.

The purpose for this new structure is because many upper-level courses have smaller classroom sizes and are likely taught by tenure or tenure-track faculty, making the classes more expensive. The upper level rate is meant to factor in the higher costs of these more intensive courses. 

"This is a very positive change that's been under consideration for a number of years," said Trustee Richard Studley. "These changes do a much better job matching up tuition rates to costs, in addition to setting our rates earlier for prospective students and parents to make their decisions earlier."

Twelve other public universities in Michigan implement a lower/upper level tuition system – only CMU, Lake Superior State and Saginaw Valley State have kept a flat tuition rate. By having a differential tuition system, prospective students and parents can more accurately compare CMU's costs to other universities. 

"We do not want to be the cheapest university, but we want to be able to provide excellent value," Davies said. "Our goal is to be as clear and transparent as possible. When families are looking at different universities, we're now on a more comparative, 'apples to apples' mindset." 

The lower level tuition rate for non-resident undergraduates will be $789 per credit hour, while the upper level rate will be $815 per credit hour. In addition, trustees approved a resident graduate tuition rate of $637 per credit hour for a Master's degree, and $726 per credit hour for a Doctoral degree. 

The board also authorized a new Master of Science in Athletic Training degree. The program is meant to allow students to finish the degree quicker.