The upcoming year will see an increase of 6.5 percent in the cost of tuition to the University. This figure is riding on the back of an approximately $36.4 million reduction in state funding to the University.
The tuition increase remains the lowest among public universities in Michigan. It will add an extra $490 a year to an incoming LSA freshman, driving up the cost of tuition to $7,975 or roughly 6.5 percent more than last year.
Provost Paul Courant said there is often a direct relationship between state appropriation and the rate of tuition. The higher the state appropriation rate is the lower tuition becomes. This year, budget cuts in the state of Michigan as a result of a weakened economy translated into a state appropriation rate of 10 percent.
Tuition increases are at a marginally lower 6.5 percent, less than they were a year ago when the budgeted state appropriation was at zero percent.
“(The percent tuition increase) is the lowest in the state. The last time we had to deal with a negative budget increase was in 1982 and we responded by a 18% tuition increase,” Courant said.
Courant added that both the academic and administrative units had to make cuts to keep up with rising enrollment and research activity, which continue to grow despite budget cuts in the University.
“Every piece of the University took a cut. The administration took a larger cut than academic programs. 275 staff positions and 50 faculty positions were eliminated campus wide through attrition as well as layoffs,” he said.
As a result of these layoffs Courant said that there would be less faculty and he worries that “(the) Michigan experience will be leaner than in the past.” He added that as a consequence there will be a higher student to faculty ratio, as well as instances where courses will be discontinued when the professor leaves, instead of hiring a visiting professor to take over the teaching of the course load as was done in the past.
Despite these setbacks, Courant said the “depth and breadth” of a University education have not been compromised.
He compared the University to Michigan State saying “Michigan State has made much of its pledge to keep tuition in line with inflation but in the last five years we’ve done better.”