by Geoff Larcom, Published June 18, 2013
YPSILANTI – For the fifth consecutive year, Eastern Michigan University's Board of Regents has maintained its statewide leadership role in restraining higher education costs for Michigan students and their families.
The EMU Board of Regents today approved a tuition and mandatory fees increase of 3.75 percent for fall 2013 as part of the 2014 fiscal year budget. The increase matches this year's state tuition restraint threshold of 3.75 percent, set earlier this spring by the Michigan legislature for the state's 15 public universities. By setting its tuition at this rate, Eastern Michigan qualifies for additional state performance funding related to tuition restraint.
With today's board vote, Eastern now has the lowest dollar increase in tuition over the last five years of any of the 15 public universities in the state. Eastern's tuition increases have averaged 3 percent over that time frame.
"At Eastern Michigan, we have worked hard to contain costs for our students while continually investing in academic quality, and in improving facilities that contribute to educating and inspiring our students," said Francine Parker, chair of the EMU Board of Regents. "We recognize higher education is expensive and we have an obligation to try to hold down those costs as much as possible."
The increase in resident undergraduate tuition amounts to $11.27 per credit hour, or $338 for a student taking the standard full academic load of 30 credits per year. The annual cost for an undergraduate resident student taking a standard full load of 30 credits a year will be $9,364.
Eastern's $296.4 million budget for fiscal 2014 reflects a $3.8 million increase in University-sponsored financial aid. Over the last six years, Eastern's financial aid has grown by more than 80 percent, from $21.4 million in 2007-08 to $39.2 million in 2013-14. The trend further underscores Eastern's commitment to helping students and their families cope with the costs of attending college.
Revenues in the new budget include $218.4 million in tuition and fees, a $67.6 million state appropriation, comprised of a $66.5 million base appropriation and $1.1 million in one-time, merit-based state funding; plus $10.4 million in other revenues such as investment income, athletics revenue and facility rentals.
"This budget represents our continuing efforts to help students afford college," said Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin. "Our students graduate in high-demand fields and stay in Michigan. Our focus on students is evident in our dramatic increase in financial aid, in our strategic renovation of key academic facilities and in our rigorous efforts to control costs despite historic cutbacks in state support."
The budget also reflects $2.2 million in funding for new academic programs and Strategic Plan initiatives, such as support for Eastern's new Physician Assistant Program, which is planned for launch in May 2014.
For the past four years, Eastern's tuition and fee increases have been 3.95 percent, 3.8 percent, 0 percent and 3.65 percent. Including this year's 3.75 percent, Eastern's five-year increase is only 3 percent, or just $43 more per credit hour than five years ago. Eastern has maintained this level of affordability during the most significant shift in state funding for higher education in Michigan's history, which included a reduction of 15 percent in state support two years ago.
Yet even during this period of tuition restraint, Eastern Michigan has undergone an unprecedented period of capital reinvestment in its academic and student-centered facilities.
Eastern's $220 million, five-year capital plan included last fall's completion of Phase II of the $90-million, self-funded Science Complex. The capital improvement program has included academic facility enhancements, such as the renovation of the Pray-Harrold Building; housing and dining renovations, and improvements in campus safety and security, IT infrastructure, classroom technology and athletic facilities.
The regents also approved an auxiliary activities fund operating budget of $44.4 million. The budget includes revenues and expenditures associated with EMU's dining services, residence halls, apartments and parking.
The auxiliary activities budget also reflects increased housing occupancy for fall 2013. It is expected that the number of students living on campus this fall in residence halls and University-owned apartments will increase by 9 percent to approximately 4,100 students, representing the third consecutive year of increase at Eastern. This fall, 800 more students, an increase of 24 percent, will be living on campus than in the fall of 2010.