Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approves zero increases in tuition, room and board

President Martin holds up a shirt demonstrating a zero percent increase in tuition, room and board, at a press conference in Welch Hall on Tuesday.

The EMU Board of Regents unanimously passed a budget that will not raise tuition, room or board rates for the 2010-2011 school year at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Some members of the board said it could be the first time in history the school didn’t raise these rates, and they said it was definitely the first time this happened in their lifetime.

The university is calling their decision to freeze these rates the “zero, zero, zero” initiative.

“We feel this action will enable many perspective and current students to seek and earn a college degree,” President Susan Martin said at a press conference following the meeting. “Our low tuition room and board rates are the result of increased enrollment as well as a management focus on cost savings and efficiencies.”

Some of these cost savings come from new windows installed around campus, new boilers and increased recycling efforts.

Martin said the budget assumes a 3.4 percent enrollment growth and a 3.1 percent decrease in state appropriation funding, which is currently being recommended by the state Senate.

Enrollment went up by 933 students for the Fall 2009 semester, and that was the first time in six years the number increased at all.

“Total 2010, 2011 tuition and fee revenue is budgeted at 198.6 million, a 5.9 million-dollar increase compared with the forecast for 2009-2010,” Martin said. “This reflects budgeted student credit-hour growth at 2.4 percent. This budget maintains our strong support of student financial aid, a key piece of our strategy to help Michigan students and their families.”

EMU is the first of the 15 public universities in Michigan to announce their tuition, room and board rates for next year. Last year, its increase was the lowest at 3.82 percent.

While the university is making more from the increased enrollment and energy savings, the new tuition rate could affect its credit.

“This recommendation is a risk to our bottom line and credit rating at a time of declining state support, but it is a risk we must take to serve the public at this important time, in the state’s future,” Martin said before the board voted.

The total budget shows $280.9 million in revenue and expenditures for the upcoming year. The university is also increasing its total financial aid contribution by $1.4 million. In the past two years combines, it increased this by $7.6 million.

“It’s difficult to be a student and want to even stay in Michigan with this kind of economic climate,” Student body President Elect Antonio Cosme said. “I applaud Eastern for its forward thinking, and I hope that it’s going to set a new precedent among universities to follow suit and maintain low tuition. Everyone knows Eastern for education first, hopefully we’ll be known for putting students first also.”

“Eastern is a historic 160-year-old public university that recognizes the importance of serving the citizens of this state through an accessible, affordable education, particularly at these trying economic times,” Martin said.

Students taking 30 credits will at about $8,377 in tuition and fees, and standard room and board will cost about $7,786 for in-state students.

Randy Richardville (R-Monore), president pro tem of the Michigan Senate, offered his praise of the decision at the press conference, saying 9,000 of his constituents are EMU students or alumni and Eastern is leading the way for the state’s 14 other public universities.

President Martin also released a video message about the zero percent increase on EMU’s Web site.


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