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Students hit with tuition hike between 2.6 and 3.6 percent

June 22, 2014

Freshman and sophomore in-state students saw a raise of 2.6 percent, $11.25 more per credit hour. There will be a 2.9 percent increase of $13.75 more per credit hour for upper division in-state students.

Out-of-state undergraduate students will see a tuition increase of 3.6 percent, which amounts to $41 more per credit hour.

In-state lower division students who take 30 credits next year would pay about $13,200 overall and in-state upper division students with 30 credit hours will pay about $14,708. An out-of-state student taking 30 credit hours will pay $34,965.

The same increase was applied to the College of Engineering, though many students voiced concerns about the tuition hike coupled with the college’s programming fees, which adds $524 to the overall tuition total.

“It’s always a concern when tuition increases, our goal is to have our students graduate with as little debt as possible and make sure that tuition goes down,” the Associated Students of Michigan State University president and human biology senior James Conwell said. “So of course it bothers me. That’s why the state needs to value education more — is because students simply cannot take more debt.”

The tentative budget for the 2015-16 school year was also released at the meeting, which included a possible 4 percent tuition increase for both lower and upper division in-state students.

The 2014-15 budget also included a 5.9 percent increase in state appropriations. It increased the overall allocation of funds to financial aid 4 percent, while graduate assistants were allocated an additional 1.5 percent. Four percent more will go to utilities and an additional 3 percent to health care.

Faculty salaries included 2 percent for general merit, which is distributed by the dean and department chair to faculty members based on their reviews. The college market, a raise given to faculty members who are particularly valuable or at-risk of being recruited elsewhere, received a .5 percent increase. The Provost market pool is administered by the Provost at the deans of the colleges’ recommendations to no more than 20 percent of the faculty.

All three will be distributed at the beginning of October 2014.

The college budget included $11.7 million allocated to academic competitiveness.

President Lou Anna K. Simon said during the meeting the budget is a turnaround budget after many years of large deductions and expenditures.

Though tuition has been on a constant rise, David Byelich, the assistant vice president and director of the Office of Planning and Budgets, said there are two ways the university would be able to to freeze tuition or to have the chance to lower it.

One of those ways would be if the university received more state appropriations. The other would be if inflation decreased.

He added that MSU’s financial aid program, which has grown 65 percent in the past five years, helps make it possible for lower income students to come to MSU.

“To say that we could devote all appropriations to a tuition decrease is probably not realistic, if we want to maintain the quality of our programs here,” Byelich said. “It’s a tough call. ... People are still able to come to MSU. How? We have allocated more money for financial aid, and as a result of that we’ve been able to maintain enrollment.”

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