Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced on Friday that the university will be freezing tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year.
According to a press release, tuition rates will remain unchanged university-wide pending a decision from the College of Law. Stanley said that the move was initiated due to financial concerns for the student body provided by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“In the coming months many families will be facing difficult financial decisions as a result of the pandemic," he said. "In freezing tuition rates for the upcoming academic year, we are doing what we can to ensure students can stay in our Spartan family. The core of a land-grant university’s mission is to provide access to quality, affordable education for all — no matter the challenge or circumstance.”
MSU has operated off of a two-year budget since June 2018. With approval from the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, 2020-21 would be the third straight academic year of rates established in 2018 since a previous tuition freeze prevented rates from rising in 2019-20.
Stanley's decision is only the most recent in a string of actions by the university to assist its students during the pandemic. MSU is currently offering financial aid, short-term loans, free legal assistance and a food bank for all students that are struggling financially.
In addition, MSU has also reduced travel and equipment expenses and modified intended construction and remodeling projects to accommodate a volatile budget situation. University executives will also take a 2% to 7% temporary pay cut depending on salary level while Stanley volunteered to take a 10% pay diminution.
As of Friday, a petition on change.org calling for partial tuition refunds for the spring semester had garnered 1,721 signatures. While a decision toward potential refunds remains unlikely, Stanley said that he will continue working to ensure that Michigan State provides a positive experience for students and staff.
“As we take required actions, we will keep our academic mission at the forefront of all we do," he said. "I intend, with your support, to ensure that MSU remains a place where students are excited to enroll, where faculty and staff find fulfilling work and where our community outreach makes a difference every day in Michigan and around the globe.”
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