Wayne State increases tuition 2.9%

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News
Wayne State University Old Main building in Detroit on June 26, 2017.

Detroit — Wayne State University's Board of Governors on Friday approved a 2.9 percent tuition increase as part of the $655 million general fund operating budget for fiscal year 2019.

The increase means in-state undergraduate students taking 30 credit hours will see tuition increase to $13,097 annually, up from $12,728 this year. 

But at least one student said that continued tuition increases at Wayne State are going to discourage students from coming.

"This is very disappointing," said Pilar Miranda-Chavez, a Wayne State junior from Sterling Heights who's studying elementary education. "Tuition is already high enough."

The increase was approved 7-1 in a special meeting, with Trustee Dana Thompson voting against it. 

The increase is below the state's tuition restraint cap of 3.8 percent.

"The board wanted to minimize the impact on students as much as possible," said Matt Lockwood, spokesman for the university.

But Michael Walters, a 24-year-old graduate student, said that it's still tough when tuition rises.

Parking costs have gone up at Wayne State and the rent where he lives in Woodbridge has gone up, too.

With Detroit reviving, increases in tuition and other costs are to be expected, Walters said.

"It's all part of what they're doing in Midtown and Detroit," said Walters, a Detroit native who is in the master's program studying criminal justice. "It's where it's at. It's a hot commodity. People are willing to pay for it. Young professionals seem to be taking over this area. But they're forcing people to move to the outskirts of the city."

Wayne State officials note that the school's operating budget includes a 7.1 percent increase in financial aid, bringing Wayne State’s annual institutionally-funded financial aid to $79.4 million.

Officials say the financial aid increase is part of a 200 percent increase over the past decade.

At Wayne State, 14 percent of students have their tuition and fees fully funded through financial aid, the school said, and that figure is expected to grow with the Wayne Access Award, which provides incoming freshmen with additional financial assistance based on need.