The Michigan State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved the tuition and room and board rate freeze for the 2020-21 academic year, a new code of ethics and updates to the conflict-of-interest policy at their Friday virtual meeting.
Tuition freeze approved
The continuing rates per semester are $7,230 to $8,595 for Michigan resident undergraduate students, and $19,883 to $20,786 for out-of-state undergraduate students, according to MSU's Flat Rate Tuition website.
Room and board for a standard room is $5,236 to $5,536 per semester, depending on selected dining plan, according to Live On. The freeze also includes the rates for 1855 Place and University Village apartments.
Under MSU’s two-year budget model implemented in 2018, the current flat rate tuition model's rate is based on 15 credits for undergraduate students taking between 12 to 18 credits.
The freeze was proposed in response to the financial implications of COVID-19. After presenting the proposal, finance committee chair Melanie Foster addressed the financial impacts in higher education due to the pandemic.
“As the finance chair, I would like to underscore again the economic impact to higher education, not just Michigan State, but all universities are being impacted in so many ways by this coronavirus – it’s very real,” Foster said. “Dr. Stanley has done a tremendous job in leading us through this and we’ll continue to do such and I just encourage that we all pull this wagon together so we get through it and emerge as a stronger land grant university”
New code of ethics and updated conflict-of-interest policy
The board approved a new code of ethics and updated the conflict-of-interest policy, both of which were previously enacted in 2006.
"I’d like to congratulate the board and the administration for putting together what I believe is a good code of ethics,” audit, risk and compliance committee chair Dan Kelly said following the approval. “We had unanimous support from the board to add this layer of transparency.”
The new code of ethics was set to be a step forward from the previous one by reinforcing the commitment to a culture of compliance, ethics and accountability.
The updates to the conflict-of-interest policy specified the general counsel determines any violations of the policy, as well as the protocols if a trustee fails to disclose a conflict of interest. Additionally, this policy will now apply to the trustees emeriti for a period of one year following the end of their term of office.
Both of these changes were made in efforts to increase transparency from members of the board.
“I also want to just mention ... how important that is to hold us as board members accountable,” trustee Kelly Tebay said in the meeting. “That’s something that’s been very clear and important to the community, and I’m hoping that this sort of starts that next path of making sure that we hold ourselves accountable and each other accountable — and you are all holding us accountable continually.”