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BOT June 2018

CMU trustees vote for zero percent undergrad tuition rate increase

Academic reorganization approved, presidential search update received

Contact: Heather Smith

The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees today voted to keep undergraduate tuition for 2018-2019 the same as this year, maintaining a commitment to keep higher education as affordable as possible.

Among Michigan's 15 public institutions, CMU has had the lowest cumulative tuition increase the past nine years. Central's increase is less than half that of the Michigan university with the largest increase.

"Had we not held the line on behalf of students and families — had we instead raised tuition as much as the state would have allowed the past seven years through its tuition rate caps — we would generate $14 million more in this year," President George E. Ross said in his opening remarks. "All $14 million would have come on the backs of students and families."

Ross, who steps down from the presidency later this summer, has been a steadfast champion of students and families. He and his wife, Elizabeth, last year donated $1 million for student scholarships.

With today's action, undergraduate tuition rates will remain at $417 a credit hour this fall for all U.S. residents. The board also set 2018-19 graduate and doctoral rates, as well as 2019-2020 rates for the College of Medicine. Review all 2018-2019 tuition and fees online.

Trustees also approved a student services fee of $225 per semester. It will cover services such as academic advising, counseling, career development, technology, campus safety, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

"Students and parents have made it resoundingly clear that we need to invest more in these critical areas," said Barrie Wilkes, vice president of finance and administrative services. "These services have increased dramatically the past decade and will continue to do so. We need more counselors; we need more academic advisors, for example.

"These are areas we have significantly invested in, and we will continue to invest even more."

Operating budget approved, reorganizing the academic divisions

Trustees also adopted a nearly $480 million operating budget for 2018-19 — a 1 percent decrease from the fiscal year that ends June 30.

They approved recommendations for the academic division, including name changes for two colleges:

  • The College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences will become the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
  • The College of Communication and Fine Arts will become the College of the Arts and Media.

Additional changes include:

  • Select large departments will be divided to create smaller, more focused departments.
  • Some departments will move to other colleges to better align with other programs.
  • Two new divisions in the College of Science and Engineering — the Division of Engineering and Informatics and the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences — will provide a more focused home with experienced leadership for the schools and departments within them.

Five presidential candidates recommended to the board

Trustee Tricia Keith, who led the presidential search advisory committee, gave an update on its progress.

She said the committee interviewed 11 candidates and recommended five to the Board of Trustees during a meeting Wednesday night. Trustees will interview the candidates during the next few weeks.

"I am incredibly proud of the work this committee has done," Keith said. "It has been a positive experience with all university stakeholders coming together to move this search forward.

"It would be our hope — with selection and due diligence — that we can align around a decision and make an announcement before the students come back this fall."


In other matters, trustees approved or accepted:

  • Faculty personnel transactions, including 40 promotions and 34 professor salary adjustments.
  • A multiyear electric purchasing contract.
  • Authorization of a connector street easement to the city of Mount Pleasant.
  • Nearly $2 million in research funding. This brings total grant and award dollars after nine months this fiscal year to nearly $15.3 million — more than all of last year.

A final president's report

In his final opening report before stepping down, Ross introduced Chief Diversity Officer A.T. Miller, who began in late May.

He also recognized:

  • The kickoff of CMU's second capital campaign in April, which at the time stood at nearly $84 million of its $100 million goal.
  • WCMU Public Television for winning an Emmy for its "Destination Michigan" series from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Michigan Chapter.
  • WCMU Public Radio News Director Amy Robinson, who won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for her feature report on "Bach in the Subways."

Board Chair Bill Weideman presented Ross and his wife, Elizabeth, with a resolution recognizing their contributions to CMU. Ross, in turn, thanked the trustees and praised CMU.


"Central Michigan University is an incredible university. We nurture. We support. We inspire. We create opportunities for each and every student, one-on-one. We open pathways students didn't even know existed.

"We graduate leaders who are fueled throughout their lives by the encouragement and support of individual faculty and staff, and who are fueled by the legacy of alumni before and around them.

"Central Michigan University is one of a kind. And I am proud to have been your president."

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