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CMU trustees hold the line again with conservative tuition increase

CMU among the lowest of Michigan public universities in total cost of attendance

Contact: Heather Smith


​The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a 2.6 percent increase in 2015-16 undergraduate tuition rates. That equals an additional $10 a credit hour.

CMU has had the lowest cumulative increase in tuition among all 15 state universities the past five years. What's more, it ranks as the 11th least expensive of the universities in total cost of attendance.

President George E. Ross pointed to a dramatic decline in state appropriations — from $90 million a year in 2001 to $79 million in the current fiscal year — as a major factor driving tuition.

In fact, if CMU were still receiving that $90 million and it were adjusted for inflation, tuition could be $100 less per credit hour.

"I fuss a lot about tuition," Ross said. "I'm also frustrated. It strikes me that we are playing catch up. The discussion has to be around investing in our students, their families and our state. I wish there was more pressure on the Legislature to support higher education. We receive 17 percent of our operating budget from the state; it used to be 75 percent."

Today's action by the trustees takes undergraduate tuition from $385 a credit hour to $395 per hour this fall. They also set tuition rates for graduate, doctoral and College of Medicine students. CMU's graduate program tuition rates are among the lowest in the state.

Barrie Wilkes, vice president of finance and administrative services, also noted that CMU invests a greater percentage of its funds in instruction than any other university in the state. He said CMU has invested an additional $6 million in scholarships, bringing the total to $61 million — a $21 million growth since 2010.

Trustees also set room and board rates for the upcoming year. Under the new rates, a standard room and full meal plan will increase from $8,780 to $9,088 per year. CMU's room and board rates currently are the fifth lowest in the state.

In other board action, trustees:

  • Received a report on plans to close the Rose pool next year. Renovations would cost $4.6 million to maintain the pool and bring it up to standards — and even then it wouldn't meet the requirements for competitive swimming. CMU will work with the community to explore options, including use of its second pool, in the Student Activity Center, to replace as many local uses of Rose pool as possible.
  • Approved the prospective list of more than 3,600 graduates who will receive their degrees in May. President Ross congratulated the graduates in his report to the board, reflecting on what their lives hold in store.

"They'll leave to put their stamp on the world," Ross said. "They'll leave as leaders … armed with knowledge, skills and insights gained in the classroom and beyond, inspired by CMU faculty, staff, alumni and each other."

A transcript of President Ross' report is available here.


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