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Helping students manage costs

Central Michigan University actively works to help educate students on tuition, costs

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston


​For each $100 in Central Michigan University tuition, $35 goes directly into the classroom, funding faculty and instructors who lead the way in CMU's academic offerings and advancing student learning.

Another $24 funds the staff who support student journeys and $13 provides scholarship opportunities.

Those takeaways are from recently added webpages designed through the joint effort of Finance and Administration Services and University Communications to help students and parents understand where tuition dollars go and how students can manage costs throughout their education.

"CMU is helping students understand the investment they are making in their future through their education," said Sherry Knight, associate vice president for university communications. "We're responding to student and parent inquires and to their requests for help in managing costs."

Where does tuition go

Tuition accounts for 71 percent of university general fund revenue. Other major sources include state appropriations (22 percent) and departmental income, according to Joe Garrison, director of Financial Planning and Budgets.

Money from the general fund then is distributed to cover university expenditures.

Beyond faculty, staff, scholarships and university supplies (also at 13 percent), 8 percent funds activities and services around campus, 5 percent goes to campus maintenance, and 2 percent funds student employee paychecks. 

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Managing the cost

The cost to attend CMU is $24,076 per year including tuition, room, board, books and supplies, but this doesn't factor in scholarships, grants, student loans and other aid a student might receive. During fiscal year 2016-2017, a first-year student receiving aid received an average of $5,716 in grants and scholarships.

Over the past seven years, CMU has increased financial aid and scholarship funding by 87 percent. More than 85 percent of all CMU students receive some type of financial aid or scholarship.

In total, students receive more than $61 million in university-funded scholarships and more than $309 million in private and federal awards and grants each year.

A net price calculator tool helps students understand their individual costs, estimating their amount of aid from outside sources and combining it with scholarships and financial aid from CMU.  

Once a student's individual cost is estimated, CMU's online financial webpages encourage students to balance the remaining cost by avoiding excessive loans, graduating in four years, working on campus during the school year and finding a job during the summer.

In all, 26 percent of CMU students graduate with no debt. 


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