WSU offers students 30% break on spring, summer tuition

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

Wayne State University has a deal for students: Sign up for spring and summer classes and get 30 percent off tuition and housing for those courses.

The program, being offered for a second straight year, aims to encourage students to finish their degrees faster and boost the university’s graduation rate, which is the state’s lowest, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

President M. Roy Wilson called last fall for the school and students to commit to a goal of graduating in four years. Just 32 percent of WSU’s students graduate within six years, a number that Wilson said is improving but still “unacceptable.”

Provost Margaret E. Winters said last week the program is tailored toward WSU’s student body, many of whom work full-time, have children, or are the first members of their family to attend college.

“If they don’t have the support, students can become discouraged,” she said. “With this program, we want to make sure we can give them the resources to achieve their goals.”

To be eligible for the spring/summer discount, students must have completed 12 credit hours during the fall term and be signed up for at least 12 credit hours for the winter term. They also must have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 or higher.

Winters said a student who took classes only in the fall and winter terms would need to average 15 credit hours each semester to graduate in four years. For many WSU students, that’s a tall order, she said.

“Because of the workload, students take 12 or 13 credits per semester. Sometimes it’s due to financial aid and cost,” Winters said. “During the spring and summer, students can take six credits and still be on the right track for graduation without feeling pressured or stressed during the traditional school year.”

For in-state freshmen and sophomores, tuition and fees cost $380.15 per credit hour. The spring/summer discount lowers that to $266.10.

That sounds good to WSU senior Brandon Clark, who says spring is the best time to take classes anyway.

“My grades are better during spring and summer semesters,” said Clark, 22, who has taken summer classes for the past two years. “Being able to get a break on my bill helps too, but I know even with the 30 percent off, some students still can’t afford that.”

While the cut in tuition will cost WSU some revenue, Winters said the increasing number of students who are enrolling in the program will help offset the discount rates.

Last year, 2,725 students enrolled in the program last year and school officials hope to double that number this year.

Wayne State is taking other steps to boost graduation rates. The university has hired more academic advisers and offers high impact advising, in which advisers monitor how students are performing in their classes and assist them before they fall behind.

Sophomore Cierra Thomas, 19, is not too thrilled about taking summer classes, but is glad students can get a break on their tuition.

“Being a college student can be very expensive and it’s nice for the school to offer this incentive. It shows they care about the students,” Thomas said. “For me, I would get too distracted being in summer school because of the warm weather. Plus there are so many things to do in Midtown.”

ksmith3@detroitnews.com

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