EMU President to recommend limiting tuition increase to 2.4 percent
YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University President Samuel Kirkpatrick announced today that he will recommend to the Board of Regents that the University accept the State's tuition restraint agreement.
Under the agreement, EMU would limit its 2004-05 academic year increase for tuition and mandatory fees for Michigan undergraduate students to 2.4 percent. In return, the State would restore 3 percent of last December's 5 percent mid-year State funding cut and guarantee no further state appropriation reductions to the FY04 and FY05 base budgets.
"This was a difficult decision," Kirkpatrick said. "During the last two fiscal years the University has reduced its General Fund budget by $13,897,740 due to reductions in state appropriations and is already operating on a per-student appropriation of less than it received in FY98. As a historically under funded institution--the University currently ranks 11 th among the 15 public universities in per-student funding by the State--we have limited flexibility to respond to these cuts."
Kirkpatrick said he is making the recommendation because it will provide tuition relief for resident undergraduate students while protecting the University's base budget. "Frankly, we couldn't project a scenario in which EMU would fare better," he said.
Holding tuition and fees to 2.4 percent will present a significant budget challenge to the University. "Even with the 3 percent restored to the base budget for FY05 the University is facing more than a $12 million budget shortfall. The cost of doing business and providing a quality academic experience keeps going up. We are facing increases in utilities, health care and wages."
Kirkpatrick said that the University is committed to protecting quality and ensuring access. "Eastern Michigan University has always embraced the principles of accessibility and affordability and our Board of Regents has consistently supported financial aid programs that preserve access. Since 2001 our campus-based financial aid budget has increased 44 percent, the national average is 11.5 percent."
"Despite the historical low funding of EMU, we have provided sound fiscal management and have never had a year-end deficit. Nonetheless," Kirkpatrick said, "there should be no misunderstanding that the cuts facing EMU will be serious and painful and most certainly will result in the elimination of people, programs, and services."
"The State is in a very difficult position," Kirkpatrick said. "We know that higher education fuels economic growth. In fact, a recent economic impact report commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation showed that for every $1 invested in higher education, the state got back $26. At EMU, that return on investment was $30 for each $1 invested. People in Lansing know that the State needs to grow its economy. The Governor's proposal is an attempt to protect higher education from further cuts so that we can continue to do the important work that we do."
Ferris State, Central Michigan, Oakland, Wayne State, Western and Michigan State universities have already formally adopted the tuition agreement. Presidents at Grand Valley and Saginaw Valley state universities have said they will recommend the agreement to their boards.EMU's Board of Regents will act on Kirkpatrick's recommendation at its March 16 meeting.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.