Wayne State University had the largest increase at 8.9 percent to which President M. Roy Wilson vowed he would not ask students for, again. (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / The Detroit News)
Continuing a trend to attract out-of-state students, Wayne State University said anyone from all Great Lakes states and Ontario will be eligible to pay slightly more than the tuition for in-state residents.
Beginning in January, students from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario who receive the Great Lakes Tuition Award will save about $11,633 a year, based on 15-credit-hour semesters. In-state undergraduates pay $11,097 for a 30-credit hour load, about $907 more than in the 2012-13 school year.
The effort to boost enrollment comes as universities are seeing less state funding and campuses compete for a smaller pool of Michigan high school graduates.
“The thinking behind it was it’s another opportunity to expose more to Wayne State and attend a major research university,” university spokesman Matt Lockwood said.
“Wayne State has always been about affordability.”
Wayne State hopefuls from Ontario and Great Lakes states will also be eligible for all five merit-based scholarships, which offer another $11,500 in potential savings, according to the university.
“We look forward to giving a broader array of students the opportunity to take advantage of a very reasonable tuition base to attend this top research university,” said WSU Provost Margaret E. Winters.
Many of the state’s public universities are seeing record enrollment boosted by out-of-state and international students.
But WSU, Central Michigan University and the state’s 28 community colleges had enrollment drops.
Since 2009, WSU enrollment has fallen by 9 percent, to 27,897 students this fall. Of those, 25,043 students were from Michigan, or about 90 percent, according to Wayne State figures.
School officials attribute the drop this fall to a new admissions policy that tightened academic standards.
Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of WSU Law School, said the price break will encourage students from the Great Lakes region to attend the university.
“My hope is it will cause students who otherwise wouldn’t come here to give us another look,” she said.
Benson said the move to expand in-state tuition shows the school, even during tough economic times, continues to try to make education available to as many students as possible.
Other universities have moved to revamp their in-state tuition policies to broaden their reach.
The University of Michigan offers in-state tuition, with some restrictions, to undocumented students, and active duty military and veterans. Western Michigan, Wayne State and Saginaw Valley State also let undocumented students pay in-state tuition. Eastern Michigan University offers in-state tuition to Ohio residents.
The nonprofit College Board recently reported that the average tuition increase this year among public universities in Michigan was 3.45 percent. Wayne had the largest increase at 8.9 percent, which President M. Roy Wilson vowed he would not ask students for again.
Nationwide, for in-state students at a four-year public college or university, published tuition and fees increased this year an average of 2.9 percent.
Michigan lawmakers set a cap of 3.75 percent for universities to qualify for a portion of $21.9 million in performance funding. Wayne State University was the only university in the state to exceed the cap and sacrifice the state dollars.
Staff Writer Francis X. Donnelly and the Associated Press contributed.