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Board of Trustees raises room and board rates for 2020 academic year


Trustee Todd Anson speaks while President Bob Davies watches at the Board of Trustees meeting in the Bovee University Center, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2019.

Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees approved an increase in room and board rates for the 2020-2021 academic year at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Residence Hall, Kewadin Village and Northwest Apartments rates are set to increase by 2 percent. Graduate housing is set to increase by 5 percent, which Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes said was based on market comparisons.

Wilkes said the rise in residence hall rates was influenced by increased costs for Residence Life, such as Michigan’s rising minimum wage. The increases also come as CMU suffers its steepest enrollment decline in a decade, the most severe of any public Michigan university this year.

“We understand the iron law of economics for universities,” vice chair Richard Studley said. “Fewer credit hours, fewer students, means less revenue.”

Last year, CMU’s room and board rates were below the median among Michigan’s other state universities, Wilkes said. Similar data has not yet been analyzed this year, but he said they are striving to stay below the median.

On top of the rate increases, the trustees are shaking things up for next year’s on-campus residents. A new meal plan, with unlimited meals and $300 Flex dollars, will be available. Another new option will be rooms in the remodeled Carey Hall, which would position CMU as one of the few Michigan universities with full size beds on campus, said Kathleen Gardner, director of Residence Life.

Studley said he was encouraged to see “changes that make our facilities, dorms and housing more contemporary, more competitive and more attractive both to current and prospective students.”

President’s report

In his opening remarks to the board, President Bob Davies reiterated his vision for the trail he’d like CMU to blaze in the coming decade. Following his 2019 State of the University address, he commissioned work groups to address five areas where CMU can improve.

“This is not your traditional strategic planning process,” Davies said to the board. “We’re talking about transformational change. We’re looking to truly inspire, innovate and improve our quality, build upon our reputation, and position CMU for success in all dimensions that we can do.”

Davies reassured the board that while 2030 sounds like a far-off date, there will be “annual and tri-annual” objectives along the way.

“I liken it to a roadmap,” he said. “We’re here in Mount Pleasant. Our goal is to be in San Francisco. We take the first step to get to Chicago. In Chicago, we’re gonna take a weather forecast and see if we want to go through the snow up north or move through the sun in the south.”