SVSU’s Board of Control in June approved a tuition increase of $474 for the 2017-2018 academic year.
J.J. Boehm, SVSU’s director of media and community relations, explained that this decision was largely because of a new Michigan legislation that includes tuition restraint language.
“This year, the tuition increase was an either-or,” Boehm said. “So, it was a percentage increase or a fixed number of $475. SVSU came in with an increase of $474, so just under that cap.”
The fact that SVSU’s state funding has greatly decreased in the last decade also played a role in the tuition increase.
“If you go back 30 or 40 years, the public was paying 70-80 percent of a public university education,” Boehm said. “Now, it is reversed. Now, we got 21-22 percent of our budget from the state, meaning taxpayers. The rest of that burden falls on the students and families.”
Keeping facilities and faculty to a high standard is another reason for the tuition increase.
“You need to make sure you can continue to have good facilities and faculties so students are getting an education that really does prepare them for their careers,” Boehm said. “That costs money.”
Most students understand that, but it does not mean they like it.
“I understand SVSU still has the lowest tuition among public universities in Michigan,” said Hannah Sweeney, an SVSU senior and political science major. “However, if there needs to be a tuition increase, I feel the university has to justify the increase.
Other students are more sympathetic to the tricky situation SVSU faces.
“It bothers me, but it is something that I realize will keep happening,” said Raven Miller, an SVSU junior majoring in political science. “Until there is a mutual solution between universities and government, it will continue to increase.”
Boehm sympathizes with SVSU students and even offered advice on how students can prevent another increase.
“I would encourage students to become more aware of the big picture, how much state funding does influence the tuition bill that they receive and to let their legislators know that I’m a voter and I’m paying attention to this,” Boehm said.
Still, SVSU students have mixed feelings as to whether or not SVSU itself has done enough to keep tuition from increasing.
“I don’t feel SVSU is doing enough to prevent tuition increases,” Sweeney said. “I feel the additions they are making, such as extra sidewalks, are not efficient.”
Other students disagree.
“I do believe that SVSU is doing everything in their power to prevent tuition increases, but that doesn’t mean that more cannot be done,” Miller said. “We take pride in being an institution with the lowest tuition, and I believe that our administration will fight to keep it that way for us.”