State Senate hears Martin give EMU high acclaim for its affordability

President Susan Martin gave a testimony before the State Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education on behalf of Eastern Michigan University last Monday.

While there, Martin highlighted several factors that make EMU stand out from other institutions.

Martin said “affordability matters” for students and it is a top priority for EMU officials.

“We are trying hard to do our part,” she said. “Our tuition increase of 3.8 percent for this academic year was the lowest percentage increase of any Michigan’s 15 public universities,”

Martin said in the last three years, student financial aid has been increased by almost $9 million, or roughly 42 percent.

“That additional funding is helping to address the increased number of students applying for need-based aid or appealing for additional funding because of job loss in our state,” Martin said.

According to Martin, about 75 percent of EMU’s students received some form of financial aid in the 2008-09 academic year.

“The percentage total of Eastern’s Pell Grant recipients is among the highest of Michigan’s public universities.”

Martin said EMU is unique because of the diversity it encompasses.

“Eastern is as a national leader in African-American graduates,” Martin said. “Of the students who have identified their ethnicity, more than 20 percent of students at Eastern this winter term are African Americans, and 23 percent are members of traditionally underrepresented minority groups.”

Martin said EMU pays special attention to veterans. Eastern recently opened a new location for its Veteran Services Office and in October, the Board of Regents approved a new award that benefits veterans.

Vet Connect is an award that allows all U.S. military veterans to attend EMU at
in-state tuition rates.

Martin explained the extensive construction projects underway at EMU. Martin said the construction projects demonstrate the investment the school has in its’ students.

Martin said the Science Complex is a $90 million project that will add 75,000 square feet of space and a planetarium. Martin said this project is the largest of its kind in Eastern’s history.

Martin also discussed the upcoming renovations of EMU’s busiest academic facility, Pray-Harrold. Martin said at the end of the winter semester, a “massive” move of faculty and the creation of temporary classrooms will take place. The plan has been dubbed “Swing Space” and Martin said she is hopeful the $42 million project will be completed by the fall of 2011.

$31.5 million of capital outlay appropriations were given to EMU from the state of Michigan for the Pray-Harrold project.

Martin urged the committee to grant EMU funding for future renovations of Strong Hall.

“We hope the State will strongly consider our capital outlay request for the renovation of Strong Hall, which would complete this state-of-the-art Science Complex and provide modern educational and research facilities for the Geology, Geography and the Physics and Astronomy departments,” Martin said.

Martin also accentuated EMU’s effort to go green.

EMU has a partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions to help improve energy efficiency on campus.

“We have reduced Eastern’s energy budget by $3 million in two years,” Martin said.
Martin then drew attention to the economic impact EMU has on the Michigan economy.

“Eastern’s total impact on the Michigan economy of $3.7 billion for 2008 reflects a return of $42 for each dollar received from the state,” Martin said.

Martin said EMU’s students also contribute to the economy.

“Eastern students spent an estimated $112 million for off-campus expenses in 2008,” she said.

Martin said EMU’s ultimate goal is to continue being a relatively low cost institution for students.

“We will continue to strive to keep costs down for students and to set an example for the rest of the state,” Martin said.

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