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Wayne State University’s Board of Governors voted Friday to increase tuition 3.2 percent for 2015-16 as part of a $602 million budget that includes eliminating 50 faculty and staff positions.

To balance the budget, which is up 3.3 percent from last year, the school will make $10.6 million in reductions, including the job cuts. Of the affected positions, about half are vacant, the school said in a statement.

Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said the budget is a balancing act, with a focus on what matters most at the university.

“We really tried to prioritize the students,” Wilson said.

By limiting the tuition hike to the state’s 3.2 percent cap, Wayne State remains eligible for state incentive funding.

For 2014-15, Wayne State’s tuition was $10,093 for an in-state, lower division student taking a 30-credit hour load. The increase bumps the annual cost to $10,416.

To ease the impact on students, Wayne State is increasing financial aid by more than $2.5 million to $66.3 million, a boost of 3.9 percent. The school said 87 percent of undergraduates get some sort of need-based or merit-based aid.

“We understand that every increase in tuition is felt by our students, and that’s why the Board of Governors was committed to remaining within the state’s tuition cap,” said Gary Pollard, chairman of the Board of Governors. “We feel that Wayne State remains a good value — especially for a major research university — and a wise long-term investment for our students.”

WSU bcame the first school in Michigan to go over the cap two years ago when it hiked tuition 8.9 percent. At the time, then-President Allan Gilmour said the increase was needed to address a dramatic drop in state aid over the previous few years.

Several of Michigan’s 15 public universities have set their 2015-16 tuition rates, but only Eastern Michigan University exceeded the state cap, which is 3.2 percent.

By doing so, EMU forfeited $1 million in state incentive funding, though the Ypsilanti school stands to gain $10 million in additional revenue from its 7.8 percent tuition hike.

Michigan State University and the University of Michigan both boosted in-state undergraduate tuition 2.7 percent.

KKozlowski@detroitnews.com

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