Tuition on rise

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The budget approved by the Michigan Legislature last month included a 15 percent cut to the higher education budget. The result? Students will now pay 6.9 percent more for their classes during the 2011-2012 academic year.

The 15 percent reduction in its 2012 fiscal year appropriations amounts to a $4.16 million decrease in state aid.

A credit hour cost $243.60 last academic year; this fall, it will be $260.50. An SVSU student now will pay $7,185 for 30 credits, up $507 from last year.

James Muladore, executive vice president for Administration & Business Affairs, said that a tuition increase between 6 percent and 6.5 percent would make up for that deficit. Tuition raises are common every year, often due to inflation. Muladore said that the 6.9 percent increase has many other factors as well.

“The determination of a rate increase is based upon not just the state appropriation funding level but also many other factors such as projected enrollment, and… [are] necessary to support both the academic mission of the University and to provide other essential services to students and the University community,” he said.

Gov. Rick Snyder called for public universities to keep their tuition increases below 7.1 percent or risk an additional 5 percent cut.

Despite the raise, SVSU is still projected to have the lowest tuition of any of Michigan’s 15 public four-year colleges or universities.

Muladore said that SVSU manages its financial affairs “very conservatively,” which has helped the University avoid drastic budget adjustments such as staff cuts and board program cuts.

“The University has undertaken many cost saving or cost avoidance measures to achieve these results in areas such as energy conservation initiatives, collaborative purchasing arrangements, debt refinancing, improvement of various administrative processes such as registration, purchasing and human resource administration,” he said.

Even with SVSU’s conservative financial practices, the University is increasing its scholarship and financial aid budget from $800,000 to $10.5 million.

Muladore said that SVSU will continue to offer “quality academic programs and outstanding facilities and services to its students.”

He added that the University is planning for the future, especially for more budget cuts, and is not expecting state funding to go back to the levels it was in the past.

“It will be prudent in terms of future planning to assume continued state funding constraints over the next several years, he said. SVSU’s funding has declined from $4,581 per student in fiscal year 2001 to $2,665 per student in fiscal year 2012 — a decrease of $1,916 (-42 percent) per student. ”

Muladore said Michigan’s taxpayer support for higher education is in the bottom ten of all states, and that declining state support for higher education correlates with higher tuition.

At the time of the announcement, SVSU was the fifth school in the state to set tuition for the year. All have increased their rates between 6.6 and 7 percent. Michigan State, along with the 3 campuses of the University of Michigan have since announced similar increases as well.

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