Eastern Michigan University’s Board of Regents passed a 3.2 percent increase in tuition and fees on Tuesday.
The percentage is the maximum allowed by Michigan legislation a public university can increase its tuition by while still qualifying for additional state funding for tuition restraint this year.
The increase will amount to approximately $10.00 per credit hour for each undergraduate student, or $299.00 per year for students taking 30 credit hours of course work. This increase in tuition is to help fund a budget which saw increases to athletics, public safety and new programs like the physicians assistants program provided by the university.
EMU recently voted to increase the amount of officers the Department of Public Safety employs. This left DPS lacking certain capabilities in housing the new officers and it now needs to update its building with things like additional lockers to service the new hires.
“Our goal is to maintain the very successful safety and security operations in place on Eastern’s campus while also expanding our off-campus presence,” said Bob Heighes, EMU’s executive director of public safety and chief of police in an EMU press release. “These measures, in terms of new staffing and capital improvements, continue our efforts in both of these areas.”
EMU has increased tuition in five of the last six years, but they have reinvested much of the capitol back into the university. EMU has averaged a 3.1 percent increase in tuition over those six years, the lowest of the state’s 15 public universities.
The budget includes a $4.6 million increase in University sponsored financial aid. EMU’s financial aid has risen from $21.4 million in 2007-08 to $43.8 million in 2014-15.
“This budget represents our unwavering and strong support of student success,” said Eastern Michigan President Susan Martin in a press release. “We have doubled our University-sponsored financial aid over the last seven years, we remain focused in developing high-demand academic fields for our students, and we continue to be among the state leaders in tuition restraint.”
EMU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors’ President and professor of accounting, Howard Bunsis, disagreed with EMU’s assessment of the budget. According to Bunsis, EMU is hiding figures from the union and paying 80 percent of the athletic budget from money which Bunsis believes should be spent towards academics, specifically faculty.