University of Michigan hikes tuition 1.9%, lowest in 6 years

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News
Students walk through the Diag in front of the Hatcher Graduate Library on the campus of the University of Michigan campus.

Ann Arbor — The University of Michigan set its smallest tuition hike in six years Thursday when it approved a 1.9% increase for in-state undergraduates on the Ann Arbor campus for 2019-20.

The rates, unanimously approved by the Board of Regents with no discussion, will increase tuition by $296, raising annual costs to $15,558, up from $15,262.

For graduate students, tuition will increase 3.2%, which amounts to an additional $762 annually.

The tuition boost comes as the university increased financial aid on the Ann Arbor campus by 11.2%, or $23 million, which UM President Mark Schlissel said will mean that most undergraduates will not be affected by the tuition increase.

"It's important to note that about 70% of Michigan resident undergraduates receive financial aid and nearly 26% receive enough aid that they paid no tuition at all last fall," Schlissel said. "That's zero tuition for a quarter of our in-state undergraduates in Ann Arbor. This figure include nearly 1,700 students covered by our Go Blue Guarantee." 

The rates were included in the budgets that the regents approved for 2019-20, including those for the campuses of Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint, along with  the health system and athletic department.

At UM Dearborn, tuition for in-state undergraduate students will increase by 2.9%, or $374 more, to $13,304 for the most common lower-division rate. 

At the University of Michigan Flint, tuition for in-state, undergraduate students will increase 5%, or $586, to $12,406 for the most common lower-division rate. 

"All of the deans, executive officers and their teams focused on strategic investments that enhance our priorities of academic excellence, affordability and societal impact," said Schlissel.

The regents also approved a five-year appointment for Deba Dutta as UM-Flint's new chancellor, beginning Aug 1. Dutta, whose appointment came after a national search, previously served as a professor of engineering and former chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and began his career at UM in 1989 as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

He will succeed UM-Flint Chancellor Susan Borrego, who will step down at the when her current term is over.

"Dr. Dutta brings a lifetime of academic leadership experience and accomplishment to the Flint campus," said Schlissel, adding that he appreciated the leadership of Borrego.

"Welcome home," Schlissel said after asking Dutta to stand.

Before the meeting, students and faculty pushing for more resources on UM's Flint and Dearborn campuses held another press conference and many spoke during the public comment period of the meeting.

After the vote on the budgets, Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs said she appreciated the process that leads to the budget and also touched on the issue of resources for Flint and Deaborn, saying that the process has begun to implement strategies for improvement.

"The steps we've made have been good and shown progress but have lacked a comprehensive strategic approach," Ryder Diggs said. "I urge us to more formally assess and strategically focus on the Dearborn and Flint campuses and find the resources required to do the changes we want to make."

Regent Paul Brown agreed, thanking those who have been vocal.

"We have been listening and working hard on them," he said. 

So far, about half of the state's universities have approved tuition increases, said Daniel Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities.

Among them:

* Central Michigan University, 2.26%

* Eastern Michigan University, 4.4%

* Ferris State University, 3.15%

* Oakland University, 4.4%

* Saginaw Valley State University, $505

All have stayed below the three tuition caps that have been proposed by the Michigan House and Senate, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as the state budget is being developed. The governor’s budget recommendation and the House set a tuition cap of 3.2% while the Senate recommended a 4.4% cap, Hurley said.

Tuition will be discussed Friday during the governing board meetings of Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

However, MSU already set tuition last year when it developed a two-year budget, according to spokeswoman Emily Guerrant. Undergraduate tuition will not increase for the coming academic year.