MSU raises tuition, but remains under cap
East Lansing — Costs for a freshman to attend Michigan State University and live on campus next year will reach almost $24,000.
The Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a 3.7 percent tuition increase for freshmen and sophomores, bumping class costs to $14,092 annually. In April, the trustees approved a 2.75 percent increase for residential halls’ room and board for an additional $9,734 yearly cost.
All totaled, a full-time freshman who is required to live in dorms the first year will pay $23,826.50 annually.
Several board members expressed concern about the rising costs, including trustee Melanie Foster.
“It’s always with great reluctance and trepidation that my colleagues and I have to face raising tuition,” she said. “Yet the quality of MSU is paramount. We continue to do more with less.”
President Lou Anna Simon said the tuition increase comes as state funding to higher education lags the inflation-adjusted 2011 state appropriation by $140 million. Also cited was Michigan’s ranking of 47th, out of 48 states reporting, for the rate of change in appropriations across the past 10 years, and state funding for higher education is the only major budgetary component to be reduced since 2007.
Meanwhile, over the past decade, MSU has seen cost pressures including STEM credit hours increase 30 percent, the state has cut capital outlay and student financial aid, and federal law has required paying overtime for work over 40 hours.
In the state budget approved last week by the Legislature, colleges and universities would receive an extra $39.8 million in 2017, down from $60 million proposed by the governor.
Lorenzo Santavicca, student body president, encouraged students to engage with lawmakers.
“Every day we think about the value of our education,” he said. “But it’s difficult to pay more out of my pockets, and my peers as well. Overall, it’s bad for students who are paying out of their own pockets, and first generation students. So we need to do better with that. We need to encourage the state to find the funding, and find interest again to make sure the intellectual path is invested.”
Simon noted improvements over the past decades, including the six-year graduation rate, which is up 3 percent, improved undergraduate retention, more degrees or certificates granted and an increase in the number of students who are employed or continue their education within six months of graduating.
The tuition increase did not exceed the cap set annually by the Legislature, which this year is 4.2 percent. Schools that exceed the cap risk a cut in state aid.
Simon compared the state’s investment in higher education to the state’s roads, which needed investment long ago and now are getting fixed.
“Roads can be fixed pretty easily,” Simon said. “The intellectual capital is even more important for the 21st century, and it’s not as easy to fix.”
The tuition increase is for in-state undergraduates in their first and second years. In-state juniors and seniors will see a 3.9 percent increase, meaning full-time students carrying a 30-credit hour load will pay $15,682 yearly. For graduate students, costs will increase 4 percent, or $26.75 more per credit hour.
Adding room-and-board rates for those living in residential halls will boost a student’s cost another $9,734. Following trustees’ approval in April, the double room rate in the residential halls will increase $108 to $4,020 per year. The silver unlimited dining meal plan increases $152 to $5,714 per year.
MSU was the first of the Big Three universities to set tuition for 2016-17. The University of Michigan and Wayne State University are scheduled to announce tuition on Thursday and June 24, respectively.
Eastern Michigan University, which broke the cap last year, will set its rate Tuesday.
Last week, the Oakland University Board of Trustees approved a 3.95 percent undergraduate tuition hike for next school year. Graduate students will pay 3.93 percent more.