by Geoff Larcom, Published April 20, 2010
YPSILANTI - The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved a $280.9 million budget Tuesday, but the most important numbers in the plan were three zeros, as it unveiled a “0-percent, 0-percent, 0-percent” increase in tuition and fees, room and board.
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The action was passed unanimously by Eastern’s Board of Regents at its regular meeting Tuesday.
“Keeping higher education affordable and accessible is critical to our goal of doubling the number of college graduates in Michigan,” Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said. “I applaud the Board of Regents for their commitment to keeping the dream of a college education alive because of what it means in individual lifetime earnings and the state’s economic future.”
"I want to commend Eastern Michigan University for today's decision not to increase tuition or room and board for the 2010-2011 school year,” said U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Michigan). “This is welcome news at a time when many families in Southeast Michigan are struggling to pay for higher education for their second career or for their children. EMU has a long tradition of making higher education affordable and accessible and today's announcement will further that wonderful tradition."
“Eastern Michigan cares about its students and the state,” said Roy Wilbanks, chair of the board of regents. “We are a partner in our state’s success. During these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever to support our students.”
“We believe this is the right recommendation, at the right time, for Eastern and for Michigan taxpayers and citizens,” said Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University. “We have a responsibility to take the risk this decision represents to step up and help our families afford college in Michigan. Our low tuition, room and board rates are the result of increased enrollment and management focus on cost savings and efficiencies, as well as increased vigilance in all areas of spending. At the same time, we have been able to maintain reinvestment in new faculty authorizing 43 faculty searches for Fall 2010 and state of the art instructional academic facilities like the $90 million science complex and renovation of Pray-Harrold, our largest classroom building."
Eastern Michigan had the lowest tuition increase, 3.82 percent, in the state last year. Costs for next year will be contained through sustainability efforts from new windows to boilers on campus.
With no increase in tuition and fees, room and board, an in-state Eastern undergraduate student who is taking 30 credit hours a year will pay $8,377 for tuition and fees. Room and board for the standard 18-meal, double occupancy room will remain fixed at $7,786.
Included in the $280.9 million budget for Eastern is a year-to-year increase of $1.4 million in financial aid. In the past three years, Eastern will have increased its University-sponsored financial aid by $9 million to $30.4 million, a 42 percent increase.
“Eastern’s motto is ‘Education First’ and this commitment by the University to not increase tuition means that they are putting the needs of students first,” said Antonio Cosme, a senior from Detroit and the president-elect of the student government. The hold on increasing tuition could have a larger impact on unemployed workers wanting to return to school to change careers. “The students in the technology management program, especially the displaced workers who are in the program to reengineer their careers, will see a tremendous benefit, as it will allow them to continue their educational program without increased costs,” said Pamela Becker, associate professor and program coordinator for technology management. “This will greatly benefit all of our students at the University.”