CMU declines to raise undergrad tuition despite looming coronavirus challenges

President Bob Davies presents during a virtual Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, April 16.

Central Michigan University will not increase tuition rates for undergrads for the 2020-2021 academic year, due to the trouble that many Michigan families already face with COVID-19. 

It was a tough decision, trustees agreed, noting that the pandemic also presents significant looming financial challenges for the university. 

The decision was made with students and their families in mind, President Bob Davies said. 

“Has the virus had a financial impact on the university? Yes, no question," Davies said. “To me, this is the right thing to do." 

The April 16 Board of Trustees meeting was held via a WebEx broadcast and shared publicly with nearly 200 attendants. 

During last year’s April meeting, tuition was increased by 3 percent and room and board rates were increased by 2.5 percent to account for low enrollment. This is the first time in “quite some time” that tuition has not increased for the upcoming academic year, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Davies said. 

Since at least 1993, CMU has annually increased tuition rates or raised fees for undergraduates. 

Despite this decision to not raise tuition, it was clear to all that participated in the virtual meeting that this pandemic would have wide-ranging effects on the university. In his opening remarks, Davies warned of the potential impact of coronavirus on enrollment, finances and recruiting efforts.

“The events of the past month will have a significant impact on our enrollment and operations,” Davies said. “We know there will be challenges to everything we do, but we do not know to the extent.” 

Davies said that the university has always been financially “prudent,” citing a strong financial position, low debt and “great flexibility” that allows CMU to not increase tuition. 

Other business

- Provost Mary Schutten presented four different tentative plans for how to reopen the university and start the Fall 2020 semester. Her team is constructing one for regular face-to-face learning, a compressed semester, starting with online classes then transitioning to face-to-face and a completely online semester. 

- CMU’s e-sports team was approved to join the E-sports Collegiate, Inc. league for competition. E-sports Collegiate, Inc. was recommended by the Mid-American Conference.

- New Student Government Association President Katie Prebelich and Vice President Brett Houle were welcomed. 

- Co-Chairs of the Emergency Management team Jonathan Webb and Mary Hill presented comments on how CMU has been responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic.