Friday, July 10, 2020

Students react to MSU's proposed two-year budget guidelines

June 25, 2018
Approximately 300 pinwheels sit outside the Hannah Administration Building to represent all the survivors of Larry Nassar on June 22, 2018.
Approximately 300 pinwheels sit outside the Hannah Administration Building to represent all the survivors of Larry Nassar on June 22, 2018. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

A two-year budget for MSU, the first of its kind, was approved at the June 22 meeting of the Board of Trustees. 

According to a press release, MSU anticipates one of the "largest and most diverse" incoming freshman classes for fall 2018. The board voted on a tuition freeze for incoming freshman in the 2018-19 school year, with a $360 increase per academic year for sophomores, juniors and seniors. There will also be a tuition freeze for all undergraduate students in the 2019-20 school year.

In addition, the historic $500 million settlement that university officials made with survivors of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar' sex abuse won't be taken out of student tuition. 

Current MSU students shared their thoughts in response to the board's decisions. Mechanical engineering junior Emma Curd said that she liked the idea of a tuition freeze.

"$360 doesn’t sound awful, and I like the sound of it freezing next year as well," Curd said. "It’s kind of nice to know in advance, that’s what I like the most is having the security of knowing in advance." 

Curd said she'd prefer no increase in tuition, but the size of the rate increase didn't faze her. 

"In a perfect world it wouldn’t go up, but I’m not horribly mad about 1.7 percent," Curd said. 

Political science senior Samantha Bitzer had a different opinion on the tuition freeze for incoming freshmen.

"I think it should increase for incoming students, not current," Bitzer said. "If U of M had a bigger increase, then I don't really think it's a problem because tuition does increase every year."

In response to tuition increases for students in pursuit of business and engineering degrees, applied engineering sciences sophomore Austin Smith said he wasn't thrilled.

"As an engineering student, I'm not a fan of how President Engler decided to specifically choose the College of Business and College of Engineering to have higher cost of tuition," Smith said. "I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to raise the cost now with the theory of earning it back later."

Both Smith and astrophysics sophomore Abby Jensen commented on the board's
decision to refrain from using tuition funds to pay for the May litigation settlement.

"I'm glad that none of the money for the Nassar survivors is coming from tuition," Smith said. "I know President Engler never officially ruled that off the table ... I know across the board tuitions pretty much rise every single year."

Jensen also said she was glad the board decided not to pull the money from students. 

"I’m glad that the thought went through their minds that it shouldn’t come out of student tuition because they’re not the ones who put their hands on the girls," Jensen said.

In addition to the Nassar settlement funds, Jensen was interested in how tuition money would be used to fund financial aid at MSU.

"I’m glad financial aid is not taking hard hits because it’s so important for kids who come to school here and if we lose a diverse campus community because of a lack of financial aid that would be a bigger shame," Jensen said.

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