EMU requests 5 percent increase in state aid to help maintain low tuition while investing in faculty, facilities and financial aid

by Geoff Larcom, Published October 19, 2010

YPSILANTI - Set against the background of the leadership role the University has played in tuition restraint, Eastern Michigan is requesting an appropriation increase of 5 percent from the state of Michigan for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved the proposed increase at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The request highlights Eastern's strong example in terms of tuition restraint. In each of the last two years, Eastern's tuition and fees increases of 3.8 percent in 2009-10 and 0 percent in 2010-11 were the lowest percentage increases among the state's 15 public universities. The request also notes Eastern's academic strengths, its efforts at facility improvements and its economic impact on the state and on Washtenaw County.

"At Eastern, we recognize the economic challenges faced by our state, and by our students and their families," said President Susan Martin. "Nearly 90 percent of our students are from Michigan and 80 percent remain here after graduation. An investment in Eastern Michigan is an investment in Michigan.

"Higher education will be a critical factor in the economic transformation of Michigan, but only if the costs of a college education remain affordable."

For the two-year period of 2009-10 through 2010-11, the average tuition and fee increase for the other 14 public universities in Michigan was 10.8 percent, compared to Eastern's  3.8 percent.

Such leadership in tuition restraint came through aggressive cost containment measures, such as increased sharing of health care costs, and enrollment growth of 7 percent over the last two years, along with improved student success rates. 

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, all non-bargained for and a significant portion of bargained for employees will be paying a substantially greater share of health care costs through increased premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.

For fall term of 2010, Eastern was successful in 38 tenure-track faculty searches and in hiring 8 new lecturers. From FY2009-10 through FY 2012-13, the University's capital spending will total an unprecedented $195 million. More than 70 percent of that investment is in academic facilities, but the spending also includes housing and campus facility enhancements, along with crucial building and IT infrastructure investment.

Eastern is projecting that general fund expenditures will rise $10 million, or 3.5 percent, in FY 2011-12, as a reflection of higher enrollments as well as increases in fixed costs.  A 5 percent increase in state funding would add $3.8 million to the general fund budget, enabling Eastern to keep tuition increases to a minimum while significantly increasing University-sponsored financial aid.


Geoff Larcom



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