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Eastern Michigan increases tuition for 2020-21

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Eastern Michigan University officials unanimously agreed Thursday to raise tuition for resident undergraduates by 2.9% for the 2020-21 school year.

The  new tuition rate will increase EMU's annual costs $375, from $13,125 to $13,500 annually for incoming freshmen, based on a 30-credit academic load.

For graduate and doctoral students, tuition will increase 4.9%.

EMU's resident rate applies to in-state students plus out-of-state students, with the exception of those who enrolled before 2016.

The EMU Board of Regents approved the tuition increases with no discussion.

Afterward, President James Smith said during a conference call that the university couldn't freeze tuition because it faces costs for work to increase safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. Examples include adding plexiglass shields to podiums and creating more sophisticated platforms for classes that will mix online and in-person sessions.

"All of those are not cost-neutral," he said.

Additionally, Smith said officials looked back at 13 years and concluded that the university "has aggressively increased financial aid" by 140%.

Also, he said there's been talk that the university might have to reimburse the state for 20% of this year's funding.

"We have spent that money," said Smith. "Our fiscal year is over in 12 or 13 days. So we would actually giving back money that has already been spent."

EMU is the state's third public university to hike tuition amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan Technological University increased tuition 3%, and Lake Superior State University increased its rate 3.8%.

Many universities have chosen to avoid tuition increases for the upcoming academic year due to the pandemic that has put millions of people out of work, battered the economy and made colleges and universities nervous about whether students will return to classes this fall. 

 Among those freezing their rates are Central Michigan, Michigan State, Oakland, Saginaw Valley, Western and Wayne State universities.

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com