CMU Upper/Lower Tuition Model

‚ÄčFrequently Asked Questions

The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees approved an upper/lower tuition model in April 2019, changing a long history of one tuition rate for all undergraduate students. Below are answers to questions you may have about how this new structure might affect you.

What is upper/lower or differential tuition? Why do we have it?

As they progress through CMU, students who enroll at Central starting in fall 2019 will have an upper/ lower tuition model based on their class standing. Students with less than 56 credit hours pay the lower-level tuition. Students with 56 credit hours or more will pay the upper-level tuition rate.

Upper-level courses are more costly because of factors such as smaller class sizes; laboratories; and more intensive, career-focused learning experiences. Additionally, such courses often are taught by more senior faculty.

The move to an upper/lower structure will make it easier for students and families to accurately compare tuition rates across all Michigan universities. All but two public universities in Michigan (Lake Superior and Saginaw Valley) have upper/lower tuition rates.

When does a student's per credit hour tuition rate change from lower to upper division?

When an undergraduate student has earned 56 credits, the student's tuition will move to the upper division rate the following semester.

For example: At the end of the fall semester, a student has accumulated 55 credit hours. That student would continue to pay the lower division tuition rate in the spring semester. At the end of the spring semester, let's say the student has accumulated 70 credit hours. This student will pay the upper division rate the following semester.

What will new, incoming students in fall 2019 pay for tuition?

New students who enter CMU with fewer than 56 credit hours will pay $417 per credit hour, the same tuition rate that has been in place at CMU the last two years.

New students transferring in with 56 credit hours or more will pay an upper division tuition rate of $434 per credit hour.

I'm a current CMU student, returning in fall 2019. Will I have an upper/lower tuition structure?

No. Current, continuing undergraduate CMU students will not be affected by the new upper/lower structure. For these students, trustees approved a 3.1% tuition rate increase for 2019-2020 from $417 to $430 per credit hour. Students who are continuously enrolled will complete their degrees without the new upper/lower model.

Why should upper-level students pay higher tuition?

Upper-level courses are more costly because of factors such as smaller class sizes; laboratories; and more intensive, career-focused learning experiences. Additionally, such courses often are taught by more senior faculty.

Will charging more tuition in the upper level result in more revenue for the university?

In comparison to an across-the board-tuition increase at the state-allowed level, the approved changes actually will produce about $1 million less than what would have been generated with an across-the-board, 3.1% tuition increase. Rather than just balancing its budget on the backs of students and families, CMU is doing the hard work to be as cost effective as possible.

What is CMU doing to ease the financial burden on its students?

CMU is committed to keeping costs low for students and their families, while continuing to deliver a top-tier education.

  • The university is doing a holistic review of our financial aid philosophy to ensure we are delivering the best-possible support of students as they progress toward graduation.
  • In fiscal year 2018, CMU awarded approximately 10,500 students nearly $80 million in university-funded financial aid, an increase of more than $25 million since 2012.
  • In comparing the costs of various universities, CMU urges students and families to look closely at all fees and whether tuition will change depending on class level and on the academic program. The Michigan Association of State Universities publishes a helpful online report of tuition and fees. Some universities have complex tuition and fee structures. Be diligent in learning what your true costs will be.

What if I have questions about the proposed tuition changes?

If you have comments or questions related to these items, please contact Student Account Services and University Billing at 989-774-3618 or via email at billing@cmich.edu