Aug. 4, 2005
From EMU President John A. Fallon, III
An open letter to students and parents:
I am writing to provide detailed information about costs associated with attending Eastern Michigan University during the 2005-2006 academic year.
For the past several months, much has been reported by the news media regarding the funding challenges facing higher education in Michigan. Several years of reductions in state appropriations, coupled with the impact of last year’s tuition-restraint measure and double-digit increases in the costs for health care and utilities, have forced all Universities, Eastern Michigan University included, to drastically cut operating costs and increase revenue.
After exhausting other options, the Board of Regents made the difficult, but absolutely critical, decision to increase tuition.
As the parent of two college students, I personally understand the implications of this decision. I know that the entire family feels the burden when tuition is raised and that increases are especially difficult on students who must work, sometimes two or three part-time jobs, to make ends meet. We know you chose EMU because of the quality of the learning experience both in and out of the classroom. Because we value the trust you have placed in us, I want to assure you that before any tuition increase was considered, the University did everything it could to cut costs without jeopardizing the value of your education.
In the end, despite cutting nearly $36 million in expenses in the past 30 months and eliminating more than 180 positions, the Board voted to raise tuition and fees 9.5 percent in order to sustain the institution’s ability to provide a quality learning experience. In that same vein, the Board agreed to a bond issue dedicated to improving the academic learning environment. The bonds will be used for improvements to classrooms, laboratories and instructional facilities. The repayment of this bond issue will require an additional 4 percent tuition increase, bringing the total effective increase in 2005-2006 tuition and fees to 13.5 percent.
The increase means that a typical resident undergraduate freshman will pay $6,540 for 30 credit hours, or about $778 more than last fall. A full-time resident graduate student will pay $8,717, or about $1,036 more than last year. Doctoral students will see an increase of $48.50 per credit hour. Mandatory fees remained unchanged except for a previously scheduled 75 cent per credit hour increase for the student center fee. Even with the increase, it’s important to point out that Eastern Michigan University will remain affordable. Of the 15 state universities, seven have tuition higher than EMU and seven have tuition lower than EMU.
We are mindful that Eastern enjoys a reputation as a University of quality, uniqueness and opportunity. We are especially proud that EMU was named a “best value for your tuition dollar,” in The Official, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges by Kaplan Publishing. To ensure that the University sustains that reputation, the University has increased the amount of University-funded financial aid available to its students this fiscal year by $1.7 million. Since 2002, the University has continuously increased the amount of University-funded aid. In 2002 EMU awarded $11.7 million in institutional financial aid. This fiscal year, Eastern Michigan University will award more than $17.1 million of institutional aid, an increase of more than 46 percent. When one considers all forms of aid – federal and state – the University will award more than $133 million in financial assistance to students this fiscal year.
We pledge to continue to look at every line in our budget to see where we can make cuts, where we can realize cost savings, and where we can simply do without in order to hold expenses at bay. What we will not do is compromise the quality of your academic experience. In arriving at this year’s budget, we chose to exempt faculty from any cuts. In fact, when you arrive for classes this fall you will be greeted by the largest group of new faculty in our history. This investment in the academic future of EMU serves to further enhance the value of your education.
We’ve had to make tough decisions regarding the budget. I expect that we will have to make even tougher decisions in the future. Please know that our goal is, and always will be, to sustain quality while keeping EMU affordable.
I look forward to seeing you on campus during the weeks immediately ahead. Best wishes for a productive and enjoyable academic year.
John A. Fallon, III