UM raises tuition 3.9% for in-state students

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Resident students attending the University of Michigan will pay 3.9 percent, or $546 more, in tuition for 2016-17, following approval by a 5-3 vote of the Board of Regents on Thursday.

The new rate means UM students will pay $14,402 in tuition and fees next school year. Meanwhile, out-of-state students’ tuition will increase 4.4 percent, boosting costs to $45,410 annually.

MSU raises tuition, but remains under cap

At UM’s Dearborn and Flint campuses, tuition will increase 4.1 percent, hiking annual costs to $12,032 and $10,884, respectively.

Regents also approved new housing rates, a $318 increase for a double room in a residential hall, meaning costs will increase to $10,872 annually. For undergraduate students living in the residential halls, tuition and housing costs will total $25,274.

Voting against the $1.94 billion budget, which included the tuition and an additional 11 percent in financial aid, included regents Denise Ilitch, Andrew Richner and Andrea Fischer Newman.

Before the vote, many regents expressed concern about affordability.Newman said the university needs to be a leader in right-sizing higher education, especially for middle and low-income students.

“A major responsibility of a public research university is to be affordable and accessible to low-income students,” she said. “The general fund operating budget unfortunately does neither.”

She applauded cost cutting in the university budget but did not approve of increased spending in other areas. Newman added that more financial aid does not offset the tuition increase.

“Whether it comes from University of Michigan general fund or from government, more financial aid does not solve the underlying problem of rising college costs,” she said. “It only makes the University of Michigan less affordable, especially for middle-class students and their families who are least likely to qualify for financial aid.”

Bernstein added that a budget was a moral document that expressed priorities and aspirations of the university.

He said the university needed to be more affordable to low-income students for whom it had the most impact.

Ilitch added that the state spends about 25 percent more on prisons than higher education and there needs to be a change for investment in future generations.

“With tuition increases, and crippling debt, families are forced to mortgage their future to invest in their children to compete in a new world economy,” she said. “We have to solve the rising costs of higher education in our state … and not on the backs of working students and families.”

The tuition increase did not exceed the in-state tuition cap set annually by the Legislature, which this year is 4.2 percent. Schools that exceed the cap risk a cut in state aid.

After the vote, David Schafer, student body president, urged the regents to champion the voices of those who were left off the table: the students.

“I have yet to hear of any structured student input on this,” he said. “We are the ones it impacts. We are the ones who field phone calls from our worried parents. ... This is our future, this is our education.”

UM is the second of the state’s largest public universities to set tuition for 2016-17. On Wednesday, Michigan State University increased tuition 3.7 percent for freshmen and sophomores, and 3.9 percent for juniors and seniors.

On Tuesday, Eastern Michigan University will set tuition a year after breaking the tuition restraint cap. Next Friday, Wayne State University will vote on tuition.

In other news, the regents authorized the university to create an institute for cancer research and name it in honor of Sidney and Madeline Forbes, who committed $17.5 million, the largest private donation for cancer research in UM’s history.

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