EMU raises tuition 7.8%, will lose $1M in state aid

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Ypsilanti — The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents on Tuesday raised undergraduate tuition 7.8 percent, far exceeding a state cap.

School spokesman Geoff Larcom said the increase was discussed at a regents' committee meeting earlier in the day. The regents approved the rate hike unanimously, without discussion.

EMU's in-state undergraduate tuition for 2014-15 is $9,663 a year. With the increase, students this fall will pay $10,417.

Because the increase exceeds a cap set by the state Legislature of 3.2 percent, EMU will forfeit $1 million in state incentive funding, Larcom said. He added that the school, however, will gain $10 million in extra tuition revenue.

The only other time a Michigan university has exceeded the state's tuition increase cap was in 2013, when Wayne State hiked its rate 8.9 percent, citing years of disinvestment by the state in public universities.

Michigan State and the University of Michigan also are expected to set their tuition rates this week, while Wayne State will act a week from Friday.

WSU spokesman Matt Lockwood said the school would not exceed the cap again this year.

"There is absolutely no talk of us going over the cap, and none of the models presented by the administration will be going over the cap," Lockwood said.

New tuition rates at Michigan universities come as only one public university — Saginaw Valley State University — was below the national average of college tuition and fees of $9,139 in 2014-15, according to the College Board, a New York-based nonprofit.

Michigan Technological University — the state's most expensive public school last year with a $14,040 annual price tag — is 53 percent higher than the national average. Meanwhile, UM, which cost $13,486 last year, and MSU, which cost $13,252, are 48 percent and 45 percent higher than the national average, respectively.

Joel Ferguson, chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees, said that's because the state slashed support to public universities years ago, and the funding has not been fully restored.

"We're among the lowest states in the nation for state funding," said Ferguson, pointing to reports by the College Board showing that Michigan is fifth from the bottom nationally.