June 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm

MSU to hike tuition an average 2.8% this fall

East Lansing — Resident undergraduate freshmen and sophomores attending Michigan State University will pay 2.6 percent more in tuition and fees, while juniors and seniors will pay 2.9 percent more, following unanimous approval Friday by the Board of Trustees.

That means full-time, lower division undergraduates will pay about $13,200 annually to attend MSU next year while upper division students will pay about $14,708 a year. The new rates come a year after the state’s largest university established a two-tier tuition structure for resident undergraduates.

Trustees also approved a 3.6 percent hike for nonresident undergraduate students, increasing annual costs next year to $34,965.

The tuition increases can be viewed from two perspectives, said James Conwell, MSU student body president.

“It’s unfortunate that tuition has gone up,” Conwell said. “However, I believe that Michigan State University does value education and has done a great job at serving the state of Michigan and the students at MSU.”

At the same time, state values have shifted regarding higher education.

Though state support to public universities has recently gone up, its dramatic decline over the past decades has been a testimony to why tuition continues to increase, Conwell added.

The new tuition rates are part of the university’s $1.2 billion budget for 2014-15, which includes a 4 percent increase in financial aid for students.

“This budget was designed to enhance the long- and short-term value to our students and stakeholders through greater financial aid, continued focus on efficiency and effectiveness and investment in academic competitiveness,” MSU President Lou Anna Simon said.

It’s a delicate balancing act between costs to students and a university that appreciates over time, Simon added.

The increased tuition also comes after state funding for public universities increased significantly for the first time in more than a decade. The $1.34 billion higher education budget increased 5.9 percent — nearly $80 million more than last year.

Set aside for MSU is $264 million, a 5.9 percent increase over the previous year. The university will get the full amount since it did not exceed a 3.2 tuition cap set by the Legislature.

Several public universities have approved tuition costs for next year. U-M approved a 1.6 percent hike on Thursday. Wayne State University will set costs a week from Friday.

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